For Kayln Hall ‘14, the thrill of making a real impact on her target audience is what makes going to work so exciting. As the online engagement manager at American Kidney Fund outside Washington, D.C., Hall gets to interact with her organization’s constituents digitally to make a difference.
A digital reach
In her role, Hall is responsible for engaging supporters of the organization to convert curious observers into loyal constituents that help American Kidney Fund reach its mission of helping people fight kidney disease and live healthier lives.
“Online engagement includes social media, email marketing, website traffic, digital advertising and digital fundraising,” she explains. “So it’s really all ways in which a consumer or constituent can engage with us and interact with us.”
Hall has a passion for the mission of American Kidney Fund, which celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2016. The organization, which works on behalf of the 30 million Americans living with kidney disease, offers programs, services and resources to patients, including prevention activities, health education and direct financial assistance. The organization also lobbies for legislation and policies that support its constituents.
It’s Hall’s job to get that message to the public and cultivate lasting relationships with supporters. “Once they do engage with us, I think it’s our responsibility to ensure that we then continue building on that experience,” she notes. American Kidney Fund accomplishes this through its digital marketing efforts along with special events, such as Kidney Month in March and its annual Hope Gala in October.
A strong foundation
Although Hall focuses on digital marketing in her current role at a nonprofit, she began her career with a strong foundation in traditional marketing.
“[It’s important to understand] the fundamentals of marketing, because at the end of the day, you’re still trying to get your brand out there and promote it across various distribution channels,” she says. “You need to know how to present that and connect with people.”
Hall was drawn to digital marketing because of the fast-paced nature of the work. “There’s always something new and exciting to learn,” she says. “It can be overwhelming at times, but it’s also fun because the goal is to improve what you are doing so you can create a better experience for your constituents.”
Honing new skills
Hall advises aspiring marketing professionals to find their own niches, too, whether it’s graphic design, website development, email marketing, social media or any related skill set.
“They require some level of understanding of marketing principles in general,” Hall says. By adding a specialty to their broad set of marketing fundamentals, these job seekers make themselves more appealing to employers.
Internships are a great way to boost your skills and gain experience for your resume. However, if you don’t have the opportunity to participate in one—and if you can’t find a way to develop a specialty with your current employer—there’s another option.
“I would suggest finding a nonprofit where you can volunteer,” Hall says.
In fact, Hall has done so, herself. She currently volunteers on a committee for a nonprofit organization called Partners of the Good Shepherd in Jamaica. She is able to use her skills—remotely—to build email marketing campaigns, oversee the website and create social media plans to support Partners of the Good Shepherd’s efforts to help the poor and infirm on the Caribbean island.
“I am able to get that experience that helps strengthen my skills while helping this nonprofit accomplish its mission,” she says.
Hall is grateful for her time at University of Maryland University College (UMUC) for preparing her to dive into her career head-first.
“It’s very fast-paced, and you need a school that is keeping up with those things,” she says. “[At UMUC], you are able to tap into a network of people that is relevant and on par with where the industry is going.”
Watch Hall’s interview here.
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