Developing messaging for a bold recruitment strategy


Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) is a Colorado-based nonprofit social enterprise powered by young adults committed to a meaningful path to career success. MHYC engaged Barefoot PR to craft audience-informed messaging designed to attract young adults aged 18-24 to its programs. In addition, we were asked to expand MHYC’s overall organizational messaging to talk about the organization’s work beyond conservation and the robust wraparound services and support offered to those who join the program – all through the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion.


First, Barefoot PR conducted a Listening and Learning session to understand the goals for the Messaging Platform. Next, Barefoot talked with young adults, partners and donors in Community Conversations to gather information about how they describe the organization. From these conversations, we learned that adults interested in Mile High Youth Corps join for many reasons including: employment, strengthening leadership skills and the pursuit for a healthier planet, among other entry points. Donors are invested in the future of youth workforce development.

We then developed Messaging Platform pillars focused on three core audiences: “Our Youth Corps, Our Community, Our Future.” These pillars can be used for Corpsmembers, partners and donors to talk about the organization. We also developed bold Corpsmember recruitment messaging inspired by six core learning areas. These recruitment messages reflected the skills, strengths and interests built by young adults who joined the Corps. Social justice, leadership development and environmental stewardship are a few examples.

Finally, we led staff and board members in three separate Messaging Trainings. We shared the structure of the platform and practiced multiple scenarios in which the platform could be used for different audiences.

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