Every three months our Chapter recognizes a Spotlight Volunteer who has gone ‘above and beyond’ to contribute to our SCORE mission. Congratulations to Denise Lynch, Newsletter editor and marketing communications specialist, for improving our SCORE brand awareness and influence with volunteers, clients and our communities. With just 16 months under her belt as a SCORE Volunteer, Denise has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to update our messaging, improve our communication process, develop and implement many digital marketing ‘firsts’ in the Chapter.
Her skillset, collaboration approach and tenacity enabled our Chapter to implement important marketing campaigns during the COVID-19 crisis across many critical programs:
- Community Outreach – first News Brief for community partners
- 2020 Client Awards – first virtual event invitation to a ZOOM platform
- WCU Women’s Conference – first virtual event invitation to an Accelevents platform
- Fundraising, Recruiting – first Giving Tuesday 2020 Social Media campaign
When Denise started her Volunteer experience in September 2019 to develop, design and post our first Volunteer Newsletter, she already had a history with SCORE that energized her to give back. Denise initially learned about SCORE while she was a classroom teacher in 2014, when she read an article recognizing a SCORE Business Award winner in the Delaware County DailyTimes. It made an impression…
Fast forward a couple of years to a meeting with the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, where SCORE was introduced. By this time, Denise was starting her own small business, Customized Tech Solutions, to serve as a tech coach, trainer, and troubleshooter for companies without IT support. She followed up to request a mentor and met Frank Millheim. Denise became a SCORE client.
She remembers that first meeting clearly. “Frank shared the business plan template and emphasized that a good plan should be a living document. To this day, I refer back to that plan and surprise myself with what I wrote down back then!! It was the best planning tool and just what I needed to get going.”
Denise looked into the workshops offered in Delaware County. She recalls, “I attended them all…some even more than once to pick up another idea or two. I met Vic Goldberg, who led the Speakers Bureau. Vic and Frank were strong promoters of the SCORE brand.”
Most Proud Moment
At the onset of the pandemic crisis, while Denise’s small business was affected by the shutdown, she jumped in to work with the educational program team members to pivot our communication process and training schedules from live and in-person only to 100% virtual. She collaborated with volunteers, the SBA and other key community partners to announce daily and weekly webinar updates via email and our website. Her communications were posted on the Chapter’s social media sites and in the local business journals.
News about the Cares Act, PPP loans, recovery planning and more...Denise crafted clear and compelling messages, scheduled the events, tracked registrations. She got the word out across the counties. Business owners, mentors and community partners from all over attended the ZOOM meetings with open-mic Q&A. Business owners needed SCORE’s help.
Marketing metrics reached all-time record highs for the Chapter: website visits, email open rates and webinar registrations. Over 3,000 attendees logged into the daily SBA webinars in March and April! Mentor requests climbed and the year ended with over 1,000 unique new clients served by the Chapter, +33% the prior year. A new benchmark was set.
We thank Denise for her contributions and dedication to SCORE. Her ability to make a difference in such a short time sets a new precedent for ‘above and beyond’ with our team. SCORE benefits from the same promise she makes to her own customers: “I wrote in my business plan…I wanted to grow loyalty by building positive customer relationships based on trust, to be respected for my capability and dependability.” It’s a win-win!
Denise had a couple of ‘false starts’ as she tried to volunteer with SCORE back in 2018. Initially, she thought a role as workshop presenter would be a good match based on her teaching and technical marketing background. The small business tools topic was already covered in the current program. So, she attended a monthly member meeting and heard about an open Volunteer role to help with a newsletter. She met with Rüder Schill, the Chairman at the time, John Hess, and Wilson Chu. After reviewing the broad target audience and content to interest everyone, things didn’t come together then either.
Some months went by, and Maria Smith called Denise to make an introduction. The team was reviewing the Volunteer Engagement Survey. The data suggested that Volunteers wanted to know more about the Chapter activities and about the talents and business experiences of each other. Not all members could attend the monthly in-person meetings due to other commitments, job schedules and/or driving distance to West Chester. Denise said, “Maria’s thought was to focus on a Volunteer Newsletter. I knew I could help with this.”
The onboarding process with Steve Crumrine was informative. Denise remembers meeting several team members, like Roger Fleming and others, who were so welcoming. The training provided clarity about what it takes to deliver the SCORE mission.
Getting the Newsletter off the ground was fun! Denise was a natural collaborator and quickly got to know the Volunteers, to invite them to share their stories and use their voices in the articles. Soon after the first Newsletter posted, Leslie Swope and Len Feehan also joined the marketing team. Together they determined which stories to feature, who to interview, what images to include, and clever headlines to make the news more interesting. New active volunteers were featured each quarter with their photos and background info so others could get to know them. Since October 2019, five Volunteer newsletters have been published!
At the same time, Denise remembers getting engaged in more Chapter events: “I was invited to other SCORE programs, like the District women’s leadership team where I networked with mentors and committee leaders from the Eastern PA Chapters. It confirmed for me that women entrepreneurs in fact do have some unique characteristics and needs. It was something I always wondered about when I was starting my own business. Now I was learning from women business leaders around me – gaining new perspectives, thought processes, organizational skills.”
Denise’s advice for new volunteers – pretty simple. Get engaged! You are part of the success at SCORE. Every volunteer has an impact. Such positive energy comes from the ability to give back to the small business community, especially in a year like 2020!