By Jennifer Kang
Susan G. Baker, political wife-turned-crusader, author of the autobiography “Passing It On” and co-founder of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, spoke Wednesday about marketing for non-profit organizations and the tragedy of homelessness. Baker was the wife of politician James A. Baker III, who served as the Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan.
Baker focused on founding a non-profit organization, explaining ways non-profit organizations can get the funding they need.
She also spoke about her work with the Parents’ Music Resource Center, which Baker also helped to found. The Parents’ Music Resource Center aims to educate parents and teachers about explicit content in music.
“Need has been what’s inspired me the most. There was a need to address the homeless problem. There was a need to address the outrageous lyrics that my child was being exposed to,” Baker said of her motivations.
She said her work sometimes led to negative press accusing the Parent’s Music Resource Center of cultural terrorism.
“They kept accusing us of wanting censorship, which we didn’t. We wanted product labeling,” Baker added.
According to Baker, the non-profit National Alliance to End Homelessness started with just five community activists who were strategists and fundraisers. The alliance has since grown to include more than 5,000 organizations, agencies and individuals today.
“We worked with corporations and individuals to get support. We worked with shelters, but they never had the money they needed,” Baker said. “So we would be the bridge for the shelters to get funded.”
The lecture, which was open to all students, specifically addressed the principles of marketing class taught by Dr. Brennan Davis, professor of marketing, and the non-profit marketing class taught by Dr. Stan Madden, the Ben H. Williams professor of marketing and director of the Baylor Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Service.
“This lecture is a perfect fit for both classes. Dr. Davis spends a good deal of time in his principles class talking about current issues of homelessness and poverty in general,” Madden said. “And my class is really the lead course for marketing for non-profit minor[s] that is available to people all over campus. There is a reason why they picked our classes to host this.”
Baker said that the best way for a non-profit organization to get funding is by acting civilly to entice people to support its cause.
She said if an organization shows it can make a difference, is cost effective and can work on the same page as contributors, the organization will have an easier time receiving money.
Seguin junior Katie Mendicino said Baker’s lecture would be beneficial for non-profit marketing majors due to the insight Baker provided.
“She spoke a lot on what she worked on,” Mendicino said. “She focused on how important it is to market to individuals that can fund your organization and still pursue what you want, even if you don’t have the money to spend on marketing like Coca-Cola does.”
Elk Grove, Calif., junior Amanda Gee said she realized the importance of pursuing a career you loved after listening to the hardships that Baker overcame.
“In the end it will work out if you work hard and stick with your goals,” Gee said. “Don’t change your goals.”