White Pony Express

Best Case: Rebuilding Marketing Platforms and Systems to Strength a Global Food Rescue Leader


Fractional CMO Expertise Accelerates Loyalist Growth and Fundraising Support Through the Implementation of Impactful Campaign Funnels, Improved Content Quality and Processes, and Business Consultation

“It is clear Susie has a streamlined and productive operation, and I feel privileged to have learned from her. We have appreciated her upbeat spirit and expertise.”


Eve Birge
Executive Director
White Pony Express

Who Is White Pony Express?


White Pony Express (WPE) is a volunteer-powered 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to eliminate hunger and poverty by delivering the abundance all around us to those in need—with love. WPE serves more than 120,000 people annually through more than 90 partner agencies. Since its inception, WPE has rescued and delivered more than 25 million pounds of nutritious food—equal to 21 meals—which prevented more than 31,000 tons of CO2 emissions from entering the air we breathe.

The Challenge   


WPE had a heartwarming backstory and gained so much traction in the first ten years of their work in the community. They had amassed a volunteer model that was becoming globally recognized and secured a network of partners, donors, awards, and recognition. While their food rescue work continued to thrive, they struggled to gain funding and food donors and had a shortage of brand activists; there were gaps in communication across all of their touchpoints, and their social media saw little responsiveness.

We were thrilled to be recommended to Eve Birge and WPE by another client, Susannah Meyer, the Executive Director for Empowered Aging. When we first met with WPE, they were closing out their contract with a former marketing partner doing the bare minimum to help them get by. There was a glaring lack of marketing leadership, best practices, and analytics. They were missing complete marketing systems to attract supporters, and their fundraising lacked integrated strategies and tactics, project management, and overall mastery in all marketing and creative skill sets. The White Pony internal team tried to take on some of the work, but they didn’t have the bandwidth or proficiencies needed to see results.

WPE Twitter Cover - Fighting Food Waste, Hunger, and Poverty in One Delivery
The Beginning of a Transformation


Our approach was to implement new marketing systems and proven expertise to increase revenue and fundraising support while expanding reach and leveraging their narrative and results to build their audiences and strengthen relationships with WPE loyalists to help spread the word and demonstrate category leadership, ultimately moving people to action.

Our starting point with WPE was to fill the gaps in their communications and across digital touch points. We began with their social media marketing, making recommendations on how to realign each profile and optimize their brand for more cohesiveness and results. WPE was missing critical tactics linking to their website, other social media, and relevant third-party profiles and didn’t highlight their full program offering. We developed new graphic elements that helped tell their story and utilized direct-response copywriting strategies to better connect the dots for followers and drive their audiences to engage and support WPE’s mission.

Another opportunity we worked quickly to fix was their donor experience. When making a donation through Facebook, there were no communications from WPE thanking supporters for their contribution, asking them to share their love for WPE with others, or to help further nurture the relationship. Their third-party donation channel, Donorbox, included a thank you letter; however, it was missing the same marketing communication tactics. We worked to rebrand their donation request form and update their follow-up outreach to include direct responses to reinforce the donor relationship and provide other occasions for supporting WPE.

A third touch point that failed to provide value was their email marketing. WPE had an extensive database but didn’t have any segmentation of their email contacts, which we helped resolve. They were also missing complete audiences; they weren’t fully communicating with their internal and external contacts. We developed fundraising email communications for staff, volunteers, partners, donors, and corporate supporters, among others. At the same time, they were sending out very little content. We worked to redevelop their newsletters and outreach with fresh copywriting methodology that included storytelling, staff and volunteer features, cross-promotion with other services and offerings, case studies, community impact results, and more.

Leveraging Partnerships and Media Coverage


One of the main reasons WPE wasn’t connecting with their audiences was because they failed to continue building relationships and trust—demonstrating how their organization was answering a critical need in society. Over the course of our work together, they had a number of media and partnership opportunities, which we leveraged for marketing campaigns to champion their amazing work and leadership and to boost support.

Shake Shack Grand Opening: When Walnut Creek welcomed Shake Shack into the community, the fast-food restaurant held a grand opening and partnered with WPE for their Stand for Something Good initiative. During the event, Shake Shack donated $1 for every sandwich sold on their opening day. As a part of this campaign, we repurposed their press release to develop pre-event promos to help drive traffic. We also developed branded signage with a custom QR code for attendees to scan and contribute additional gifts backing WPE’s mission. After the fundraiser, we developed additional promos thanking Shake Shack for their partnership and featured a wrap-up piece in WPE’s monthly newsletter.

Food Rescue Hero App Today Show Segment: One of WPE’s newer initiatives was their Food Rescue Hero App. This tool allowed community member volunteers to help rescue smaller, more frequent food donations on a daily basis whenever alerted via the app. Our approach for this campaign focused on repurposing the interview into a blog post, an e-blast announcing the interview with links back to the blog, social media promos, a video clip promo to add to WPE’s Food Rescue Hero page on their website, and a video call-to-action to download the app at the end of the interview.

WPE CCAC Intern Introduces President Biden at California Climate Event: Part of WPE’s charge was actively combating climate change by diverting fresh, healthy food from landfills, effectively reducing CO2 and methane emissions. One event that WPE attended featured their California Climate Action Corps Fellow, who introduced President Joe Biden alongside Governor Gavin Newsom. Like our other campaigns, we developed a feature in their monthly newsletter and social media promotions featuring talking points from the President, Governor, and Fellow. We also added the video to their website and YouTube channels for further visibility.

Charity Navigator Recognition: Another significant milestone for this client was their recognition from Charity Navigator. For multiple years in a row, WPE received 100% and a four-star rating that fewer than one-tenth of 1% of nonprofits receive. Due to these high accolades, they were nominated for Charity Navigator’s Community Choice Award. For this campaign, we helped develop and distribute a press release, a blog, an email announcement, and several social media promos for each round of voting to drive engagement and support.

Demonstrating Leadership to Bolster Rapport


The WPE team did a lot of work on the ground to build relationships with food donors and volunteers, yet there were several holes in their pitching process, mainly with their supporting materials – brochures, flyers, etc. They had too many disjointed content pieces that failed to position WPE as an industry leader and didn’t leverage their expertise or recognition as a four-star nonprofit. In addition, they didn’t effectively convey their approach to save food donors time and money or business benefits that help the community thrive.

Our goal with redeveloping these content pieces was to get back to basics, clearly define WPE and what they did, and equip the handout materials with messaging that supported their needs in growing food donations and community members who wanted to help serve the WPE mission.

Growth Results

We significantly improved their impact via our proven marketing systems, project management, creative. and experienced leadership. The repositioning of WPE through their social media channels, email marketing, donor experience as well and their collateral pieces effectively highlighted their unique volunteer-based solution in ending hunger and protecting the planet while demonstrating how they support local businesses and the community at large. Our media and partnership campaigns helped reignite brand loyalty, an organization they can trust, appreciate, love, and respect, resulting in an increase in funding, support, and reach.


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