Q & A With Rachel Gaines

In the second installment of this monthly blog series, you will learn more about one of our staff members. Through these one-on-one interviews, we will share our career passions and philosophies—and some personal information, too. Below is an interview with Rachel Gaines, Marketing & Events Manager and Nonprofit Capacity Conference Event Coordinator, at Brighter Strategies.


What initially inspired you to embark on a career in the nonprofit space?

While working on the planning and booking side of events and marketing in the hotel and golf industry, I often had the opportunity to speak to and meet with various nonprofit leaders who were all striving to either fundraise for or educate about their mission work. I wished I could find a way to put my planning and marketing skills and strengths in action to make a bigger impact on the world around me—and with nonprofits I found this niche!


What is your philosophy for marketing?

Do the small things right every time. This will open the door to greater opportunities—more of a quality over quantity approach when it comes to developing a business and marketing a product. I believe our clients want the best, but also have an eye for value. For example, Brighter Strategies strived to make the best quality vision board and vision cards in the market while keeping the price point reasonable for the consultants and coaches who wanted to purchase them. Liz was already using the vision boards successfully, so we found ways to allow others in similar lines of work such as teachers, HR staff, and training and development professionals to purchase these products as well.


In addition to marketing, you have skills and experience in event planning. What are some of your best practice approaches to this facet of your career?

I do my best to stay ahead of the event timeline so that we have space to be flexible in case a great opportunity or issue arises. With thousands of events under my belt, I can often see a potential problem ahead before it affects the event. I try to be detailed and diligent with planning, while putting myself in the shoes of those attending—whether it were a bride when I worked in the hotel industry, or a nonprofit leader as is the case with planning the Nonprofit Capacity Conference. Attendees remember how the event made them feel and whether or not it was a good use of their time, so I focus on preparing content and activities for each event’s unique audience. I call the event a success when I can exceed the expectations of those in attendance.


What do you enjoy doing for fun and relaxation?

I enjoy attending cultural events, playing with my two dogs, Major & Minor, heading to the driving range, or dancing kizomba. When the weather is just perfect you’ll often find me sitting on my patio overlooking the Washington, D.C. skyline.


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