Nonprofit Marketing: How Wings for Kids Takes Flight With Print

Nonprofit Marketing: How Wings for Kids Takes Flight With Print

A business isn’t always about selling a product and making a profit. Sometimes it’s about giving back and making a difference. For Liz Mester, director of communications and engagement for Wings for Kids, it’s about equipping “at-risk kids with the skills they need to succeed in school and thrive in life.” With nonprofit marketing, Mester’s in the business of inspiring, facilitating and educating, and she’s using print to fulfill that important mission.

A hand holding a nonprofit annual report with Dream Big Fly High and two intertwined hands on the cover.

Saddle Stitch Booklets can be tailored to your audience or project with a wide range of cover and paper stocks, including recycled

A nonprofit annual report printed with financial information in shades of blue.

Top of the Class

A South Carolina-based nonprofit, Wings for Kids offers after-school programs for kids who need it most. Mester uses print “to engage with a specific audience, whether donors, volunteers, the school community or the parents and families of the students we serve after school.”


For the nonprofit’s annual report, Mester relies on Saddle Stitch Booklets. “There is so much flexibility in size, stock and additional embellishments,” she says. “We are able to get really creative in our design and messaging.” With pages laid together and stapled through the fold line, the saddle stitched binding is an obvious choice for reports like Mester’s, as well as product manuals, magazines and event programs.


Based on the feedback she’s received, Mester knows she’s on the right track. “So much time and energy goes into creating a piece like an annual report that the final product has to be exceptional, otherwise it’s just not worth it,” she explains. “With Smartpress, I know the final product will be stellar.”



Nonprofit brochures lined up in rows with What We're Learning on the front and a hand holding the one in the middle.

Budget-friendly Collated Printing allows for unique content on each sheet while maintaining the same print specs


With the Wings for Kids motto “helping kids soar” top of mind, Mester also uses Collated Printing to ensure her fellow educators do the same. “We use Collated Printing a lot when we’re creating resources for our staff and teachers to use with kids,” she says. “It gives us a lot of freedom to create materials that can be used for multiple purposes and audiences.” A benefit not lost on nonprofits and for-profits alike.

A hand holding a custom thank you card above another card standing open with endless gratitude on the front.
A marketing poster printed with Words to Live By and a hand unrolling the bottom.

Making Holistic Strides

To spread awareness among the community, Mester gets creative with traditional print products, saying, “Sell Sheets and Announcements help us during recruitment when we’re looking for college-aged staff to run our after-school programs across the Southeast.” Completely customizable with our online printing services to target any audience, Sell Sheets can do more than advertise products, while Announcements can build more than just event excitement. For Mester, adding a little imagination to her marketing strategy pays off.

From homework helpers to group leaders, volunteers make the programs possible. And to attract those caring individuals, Mester doubles down on her recruitment efforts. With Small Posters and Large Posters, she gets a professional look with a personalized message.


“Small Posters help us recruit hundreds of college-aged staff members from local colleges and universities,” she says. “[We use] Large Posters for events, in-person trainings and inside our after-school programs.”

Three custom retractable banners printed with The sky's the limit when we work together and a blue background.


She also goes outside the nonprofit marketing box with Large Posters, using them similarly to a direct mail campaign. “We partner with several after-school organizations across the U.S. and the Large Posters are shared with these sites,” Mester says. “It helps us bring our brand and messaging on-location.”


It’s at her many partnering locations that Retractable Banners complete her promoting puzzle. Simple to set up and takedown, these portable pop-up banners are perfect for presentations, trade shows, and for Mester, community outreach.


“Because we operate after-school programs in elementary schools, we want a way to showcase to the school community that we’re all working together for the betterment of the students,” she says. Her custom banners “sit in each of our school’s front entrances and welcome parents, staff and students to the school.”

Custom cards printed with a heart and You Are Here and Dream Big and Fly High on the covers.

Two hands holding a nonprofit invite with Let's Go! on the front and a matching envelope laying underneath it.

Direct Mail products feature fulfillment services like list acquisition, list processing and/or addressing

A Soaring Success

Not just an after-school program, Wings for Kids also offers free digital resources for educators and other organizations. Since all this positive productivity wouldn’t be possible without the help of donations and time, Mester shows her appreciation with Greeting Cards and Postcards.


“We use Greeting Cards regularly to thank our donors for their contributions,” she explains. “We also create holiday-specific cards and postcards that we send in November, December and February.”


For nonprofits, staying on-budget is crucial, and for Mester, Smartpress’ wide range of Direct Mail Printing products makes that possible. “It’s really a one-stop-shop for us,” she says. “We print and mail all [of it] through Smartpress.”


As a world-class online printer, Smartpress offers complete mail fulfillment services like list acquisition, list processing and addressing that come in handy, too. She goes on, “When we do annual solicitations to thousands of people, having Smartpress handle the logistics is priceless. It frees up our small staff to focus on more important work.”

Two hands holding a nonprofit advertising booklet with Dream Big Fly High in blue on the front.

A nonprofit marketing booklet laying open to company information and an image of two kids under a flag.

Straight-A Strategy

A firm believer in the power of print, Mester maintains it’s still the medium that makes the most impact for nonprofit marketing. “For decades now, we have relied on print to reach and engage our supporters,” she says. “Looking specifically at our annual printed campaign pieces, we raised more money this year and acquired more new donors than the past two years.”


As her print campaigns increase steadily each year, Mester knows it’s not just the online printing pieces themselves winning over audiences, it’s what they say. “The key is to make sure your message, your quality and your design stand out from the pack,” she states. “And Smartpress helps us do that.”

In many ways, print has been just another Wings for Kids caregiver, working hard to get essential resources into the hands and hearts of at-risk kids. And it’s a partnership Mester isn’t dissolving anytime soon.


“Print is not going anywhere. I actually believe it’s more important and valuable now,” she concludes. “And from all of the fundraising experts we follow in our industry, it’s still the number one way to raise money for all nonprofits.” It’s a marketing medium that more than makes the grade.






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Direct Mail Piece, Retractable Banner, Saddle Stitch Booklet Designs by J Bush Designs for Wings for Kids
Collated Printing, Holiday Card, Postcard, Greeting Card, and Large Poster Design by Wings for Kids

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