An interview with Gohar Chichian, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Catchafire

We sit down with Gohar Chichian, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Catchafire. Catchafire is an online platform that matches nonprofits to professionals for pro bono consulting projects.

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How did you end up at Catchafire and what problem does Catchafire solve for its clients?

After eight years in nonprofit fundraising and communications, I was seeing the same trends in the industry–nonprofits lacking equitable access to the resources they need to fulfill their mission and serve their community. I was drawn to Catchafire as a solution. With nearly 60,000 matches between volunteers and nonprofits, we are the leading online platform for nonprofits to connect with everyday professionals. By providing access to volunteers, nonprofits are able to extend their bandwidth and programming at no cost to them. We partner with over 130 foundations and corporations, and over 10,000 nonprofits. For foundation partners, they are able to support nonprofits with capacity building year-round outside of traditional grantmaking structures. For our corporate partners, they’re able to offer volunteer opportunities to engage their employees, build company culture, and elevate their company’s reputation—all while giving back to the community.

As the Senior Manager, Content Marketing, what are your main responsibilities at Catchafire?

I manage our content marketing strategy. My responsibilities include increasing brand awareness, business leads, and audience engagement through content. As project manager, I help develop processes to improve our team’s efficiency in campaign development, content production, and distribution across our channels and audiences. I tell stories from our communities through case studies, data reports, blogs, landing pages, and more. My work includes collaborating with our sales team to develop go-to market strategies and collateral for our products. My approach involves combining storytelling and data to promote Catchafire as the leading platform for nonprofit insights, philanthropic trends, and volunteerism.

To get a bit more technical, which methods work best for making people aware of and interested inCatchafire , and why do you think they work so well?

Catchafire hosts monthly conversations that bring foundation staff, corporate philanthropy, and nonprofit leadership together to discuss pressing needs and innovative solutions in the field. These critical grantmaking conversations open a forum for discussions on how philanthropy can collectively improve how they serve communities. Our team also attends key grantmaking conferences to network and speak with changemakers in the field to increase their awareness of Catchafire. Most recently, our COO, Kathy Brady ( was a featured speaker during this month’s Grantmakers in Health Conference. Events engage new audiences, making them aware of Catchafire and the value we bring.

At ColdFire, when we look at our clients' Marketing strategies, they vary greatly. Some have found a single, scalable client acquisition process while others thrive on a mix of top-of-funnel strategies. How would you summarize the high-level marketing-related strategy of your organization, and what key elements contribute to its success?

Our marketing strategy enlists multi-channel communications to target clients and increase brand awareness. Our marketing team also works closely with sales and product to identify the needs of our buyers, users, and the market. This helps us craft people-centric and product-centric messaging that resonates with the pain points and needs of buyers and users. With more than a decade of experience, we use storytelling, data, and human connection to convey our impact and build relationships. Our key elements of marketing include a combination of press pieces, cross-promotional media, comprehensive email user journeys, social media, paid ads, blog posts, and downloadable reports. Each of these channels is critical in driving traffic, leads, and engagement with our audiences and prospective clients.

What marketing tactic have you employed at Catchafire or past companies that you feel is often overlooked by marketing teams, and what makes this technique effective in your experience?

Content is king! It’s crucial to use storytelling in your marketing approach. It may sound simple, but as the industry leans toward data and numbers, it’s important to remain people-centric to convey the human impact behind the numbers. What does the number of nonprofits matched or volunteer hours donated mean on a daily basis for an overextended executive director, a busy program officer, or a board member looking for direction? Using testimonials, interviews, and videos is key in showing how Catchafire affects the names and faces behind the numbers, the communities served, and the overall impact we are making day-to-day for nonprofits.

Has your Marketing team experimented with some kind of cold outbound strategy (like cold email)? If yes what was the general outcome and if no, why not?

Yes, we use cold emails. Email is the channel of action! I'm fortunate to be a storyteller at a company that has incredible stories of people helping one another. I personalize our outreach by making sure the impact stories we email to cold recipients are ones that are personal to their work.

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