Testing new technologies in nonprofit communications

April 24, 2017


Adam Watson is the Digital Marketing Manager for Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre, a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing and promoting musical theatre.

Adam oversees and manages Starlight’s email distribution, website adjustments, social updates and digital marketing.

During his time with Starlight, Adam has focused on developing new ways to reach the theatre’s patrons through emerging social platforms and online marketing efforts. Continuous learning of new technologies and collaborative development, have been a cornerstone to the success of Starlight’s digital efforts.  

Adam holds degrees in Business Management and Marketing from Northwest Missouri State University.



Manage to strengths. When working with your team or seasonal interns, it’s important to manage to an individual’s personal strengths. I’ve worked with interns who needed a very structured internship with detailed assignments and deadlines. I’ve also had interns who had a sense of when things were needed and created new projects on their own. Both types of personalities made great interns, but if I managed them the same, the results could be disastrous. 

Involve non-marketing staff with social content. Involving staff outside the marketing team can be a Pandora’s box but if expectations are managed, it can result in amazing content on an organization’s social accounts. It’s important to let all involved know that not all content provided will be used on official accounts but to continue sharing their experiences. Also, communication with your outside content providers is important. Let departments know the weekly and monthly social focus. Communicating department needs and planned areas of focus will help your team understand why specific contributions or content may be on hold. 

Focus on platforms your key audience is active on, but don’t ignore new technology.  When working with social, it’s important to focus your communication on the platforms your audience is using. For some organizations, this might be Facebook; for others, their audience might primarily use Instagram. While focusing on your key audience is important, it’s equally important to set time aside for new platforms whose users might be a younger audience. By having an early presence your organization creates authenticity on the platform. As these younger audiences age into your demo, the hope is that they already have an awareness and affinity towards your organization.