Meet Keri! Keri is in charge of communications at NightShift. She has been on staff since August of this year, and before that she had been a contract worker with NightShift for 2 years. Keri met Mary Anne, the founder of NightShift, 5 years ago when she was interviewing her for an article she was writing for a magazine. Keri loved her story, and was inspired to get on board.
During Keri’s interview, she did her first outreach. As mentioned before, outreach typically consists of serving a meal to vulnerable people in the community surrounding NIghtShift. As Keri served these people, she realized the rich gift in serving others. “These people that we were serving that night just melted my heart. Partly why they melted me, was because 10 years ago I had been where they are,” Keri said. 10 years ago, Keri’s life was defined by couch surfing and an addiction to drugs. She carries a deep empathy for people on the street because she knows the struggle. “As much as I hope that me and NightShift are offering healing to our friends on the street, I know too that they bring healing into our own hearts,” Keri said, “and that’s part of the mystery of serving other people.” Like Marty, she was confronted with the mutual exchange of love, hope, and purpose.
What does Keri’s job look like? She says that she works on developing NightShift’s brand, admin, and meets with the community. She breaks it down as 80% reading, researching, and writing, and 20% meeting with the community. Most of her communication with others is done through e-mail. When I asked her what her greatest challenge is, Keri said that writing content and keeping up with new marketing lingo challenge her in her role.
What does marketing look like for NightShift? Keri says they mostly market through e-mails, hoping that they will lead traffic to their website. When I interviewed her, they were doing a postcard campaign for Thanksgiving. They had printed hundreds of appreciation postcards to give to donors involved with NightShift. Small actions such as this go a long way in the community. Events are usually marketed through e-mails and social media. Keri wishes to improve on reaching people through online content, as most people who have heard of NightShift have heard of it through word of mouth.
When asked what NightShift’s greatest strength as a brand is, Keri responded that it was the ability to bring people together in a common team. People from all walks of life, from someone in barefeet living on the sidewalk to a wealthy home builder, join in bringing love, hope, and purpose into the community through service. She called it a “nightly miracle.” Keri thinks that another great strength of NightShift is the amount of unconditional love given to the people they are serving. She describes seeing street people continue to hurt themselves after getting help as “challenging, heart breaking, and maddening,” but through that, she has learned the ability to love people without expectations.
Keri’s passion is telling the human story. Through the lens of NightShift, this looks like the stories of street friends, volunteers, and donors. She puts emphasis on not exploiting people’s stories. Not only do storytellers need to ask permission of people, but they also have a responsibility to a person after they hear their story to check in on them and ask them how they are doing. I learned a lot from Keri, not just about NightShift, but also about what communication looks like within the context of a non-profit organization. Her determination to tell the stories of others in a raw, authentic way is absolutely inspiring!
Next, I will share details from my interview with Mary Ann, the founder of NightShift. Stick around to hear her heart for the people of Whalley!