Introducing The Welcome Project

McKenzie Gregory


See how attendees gave back at Marketing United 2017

Our annual Marketing United conference brings together marketers from all over the world to learn from industry leaders, share ideas, and get better at what they do. But it's about more than just that: Each year, we encourage attendees to take part in a giving back initiative that truly makes an impact.
In 2016, we partnered with charity: water to fund a clean water project in Nepal. To do so, we donated $30 for every person who participated in charity: water’s breathtaking virtual reality experience (with a goal to have 300 people participate). By the end of the conference, nearly 500 people had gotten involved! 

Marketing United 2017: A partnership with Thistle Farms 

This year, we chose to work with local nonprofit Thistle Farms. Thistle Farms is a social enterprise of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. They house a bath and body care company, Thistle Stop Café, and paper and sewing studios. The community provides housing, food, healthcare, therapy, and education, without charging residents or receiving government funding. 
The organization is close to our hearts (our CEO Clint Smith is even on their board), so we couldn’t think of a better nonprofit to work alongside in 2017. And it just so happened that they were about to launch a brand new initiative – so why not introduce it with a splash at Marketing United?

Introducing... The Welcome Project

The team at Thistle Farms explains the thought behind their latest project best:
The current refugee crisis has women and their children trading an unsafe home for unknown waters. With almost nothing but a life vest, they arrive in an unfamiliar world in search of a new life.
That's why women refugees have come together with Thistle Farms to start the first social enterprise in Ritsona, Greece. Women are weaving welcome mats that include the fabric from life vests worn by refugees on their journey to Greece. In addition, Thistle Farms has partnered with I AM YOU to help women gain economic freedom.

How Marketing United 2017 attendees got involved 

To help support this worthy (and timely) cause, we encouraged Marketing United attendees to take part in the official launch of The Welcome Project. 
Step 1: Attendees snapped a photo of themselves standing on one of the welcome mats.
Step 2: They posted it on social media using #LoveWelcomes.
Step 3:  For each photo shared, we donated $20 to help provide salaries for the women refugees involved in the project.
Our goal was to raise a grand total of $10,000 for Thistle Farms, and not only did we hit it – attendees consistently said that the initiative was one of their favorite parts of the conference!

What can you do?

Thistle Farms is now accepting pre-orders for The Welcome Project welcome mats! You can learn more about them and place your pre-order here

About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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