$6 TO END CHILD trafficking – Brittany Baker, Ijm – Episode 56

TUNE IN: Apple Podcasts l Spotify

There are more children, women, and men trapped in slavery than ever before in human history. Marketing & Creative lead of International Justice Mission, Brittany Baker, joins Sarah to share more about IJM’s brand storytelling work and the simple ways you can help. DONATE HERE

THIS EPISODE AT-A-GLANCE

  • What is IJM’s mission? And who do they help?
  • Why is human trafficking and slavery on the rise?
  • Telling stories that connect survivors with people who want to help
  • Navigating the balance of sharing a sensitive topic
  • How IJM’s content team is structured to ID and create branded stories
  • What your donations can provide

Full Podcast Transcription

Brittany Baker:
For super Maarko, or if you look up Ester’s story or Godwin’s story or Kashi’s story, these are all stories where something truly horrific happened. And, and the audiences that watch them will never know every single detail because it’s just too much, right? People will shut down because it’s, it’s horrific. And so how do we go about understanding the stories that are create impact and say what parts of it to tell that both honor the survivor and they, again, they say yes to, they say, sign off on and people can handle and can understand.

Sarah Panus:
Hi, my name is Sarah Panus. I have spent the last two decades driving digital content for billion dollar brands. Now I help content marketers build winning brand storytelling strategies and reduce feelings of overwhelm and confusion. Join me as we discuss strategy, creativity, confidence, and building a better connection with your audience. Think of this as a creative content marketing jam session mixed with chicken soup for the soul. This is the marketing with empathy podcast. 

Sarah Panus:
Hey, Hey, Kindred Speakers. As a mom, I’ve always felt a strong pull to help kids that are stuck in unfortunate situations. Anytime I hear about a kid being abused or neglected my heart deeply aches, and I’m just, you know, it aches and I’m instantly like angry at anyone who could do something so awful, you know, to innocent children and just to people. And through the years I’ve wanted to help, but I just really wasn’t sure how, you know, like what do I do? Who do I help? To the point of where my husband and I have gone to adoption info sessions to learn more, we’ve read about foster care and we’ve researched nonprofits. And at this point in my life, I feel like I’m being called to help by using my marketing background to help spread awareness of the issue and help answer the question that I always had, which was, you know, what can I actually do to help? Like, do you ever feel like that? You hear about these things that are happening, but you don’t really know what you can do. So for me then, the next question was, well, which organization am I going to support? Who can I help? But, you know, as God always does the answer present itself to me, literally. A few years ago, I was attending the story conference in Nashville and the then creative director from International Justice Mission or IJM as I’ll refer to them from here on out, was a woman in Vera. 

Sarah Panus:
And she got on the stage and presented what their brand was doing with storytelling to engage with donors around the world. And I knew very little about IJM at this point. So Vera plays this four minute video for us and it had me and almost everyone in attendance crying, literally crying that one short video was so incredibly powerful. It was such powerful form of brand storytelling because it did a bunch of things. It educated me about a new form of child trafficking called cyber trafficking that I’d never heard of. And documented the real life experience of a boy named Marco and his little sister who were being forced to stand in front of a computer camera in the Philippines and do whatever request were IM to them from some pedophiles laptop, somewhere else in the world. I know it’s just sickening. And this video put me in the shoes of these kids and helped me also better understand IJMs important work, rescuing kids like this and families and that are trapped in trafficking and slavery around the world. And right then and there that story, that four minute video cinched it for me. I was a donor. I was in and this was a nonprofit that I had been looking for. So joining me to share more about their brand storytelling work today and simple ways that you can help is, Brittany Baker. I’m so excited to have Brittany on the show. Brittany leads, marketing and creative at IJM. Welcome to the show, Brittany.

Brittany Baker:
Oh, thank you so much. I’m super excited to be here.

Sarah Panus:
Oh good. I am too, just because I am such a fan obviously, of what you all do. It is so incredibly important and the brand storytelling work you do is really well done. And so I think this is gonna be a great episode to, to connect both of those pieces together. So Brittany, slavery and human trafficking still exists today, as you well know. And I know according to your work at IJM, there are more children, women, and men trapped in slavery than ever before in human history. And that really surprised me when I first heard it. I was like, what? Like, how could we be going backwards? You know, people are beaten, raped, starved, you know, for the prophet of others around the world. Can you tell us more about IJM mission and, and who you help and what you do?

What is IJM’s mission? And who do they help?

Brittany Baker:
Yes, absolutely. And again, thank you so much for, for just being on here. And I love talking about actually storytelling, especially when it’s intersecting with taking action, um, which is the beautiful, sweet spot that my work is in, so I’m very grateful to be here. Yes, IJM is working to end violence everywhere against people living in poverty. We actually do this through strengthening justice systems. We’re partnering with local law enforcement, with local community leaders to say, Hey there are, or not to say it, but to work with people as there are women, children, men who are in impoverished situations that are incredibly vulnerable to violence and this justice systems in the countries in which we work are not responding, they’re not effectively equipped to actually handle ending that violence. Uh, the violence that we specifically are working to end is trafficking. Um, honestly of all forms, it’s, it’s modern day slavery, that’s human trafficking, sex trafficking, online sexual exploitation of children, which is actually the story you were just referring to the video you saw. We’re working to end violence against women and children, child sexual assault is within that. 

Brittany Baker:
Uh, that’s also land grabbing, uh, in Uganda. And then we’re working to end police abuse of power in Kenya, specifically where it just truly is, it is truly rampant. And we have seen the prevalence just where it’s it, it is not ending. And that is be, and we do truly believe that we have the solution to partner with local justice systems to say, “Hey, we see that you want to end this and we know how to equip you to do so”, so we’re gonna partner with you in order to honestly put ourselves out of business to ensure that you, you, that the justice systems are prepared and equipped to protect its citizens. And that way we can say, great, thank you so much. We are done. And so that’s, that’s the work of IJM is to protect people from violence happening in the first place and to end that violence, uh, for the people that it’s currently happening to.

Sarah Panus:
As one of the reasons I support IJM as well is because I think what you do, it’s full funnel. Like your work helps like research and investigate and fund, like finding and tracking down the root cause with child trafficking as an example, right? The investigation of like, how do you track down? Like, who are these people who are doing it? How do you track down these kids and find them and, and you be able to rescue them, but then you also do all the upfront research. And then you’re doing also then the actual physical rescue missions of like going in. But then you’re also like foundationally changing the root cause. Like you’re saying where you can work with these local justice systems to change the laws and protections and things that are in place. So that these things aren’t so easy to happen. Like it makes it more difficult for any of this to keep happening. And then also afterward when there’s the rehabilitation and the recovery and then like the lawsuits and bringing people to justice after the fact. Right? Yeah. It’s just so amazing. I love how you do it full funnel.  

Brittany Baker:
Yeah, no, I agree. It’s actually something that even like it drew me to IJM and I would say it’s, it’s the thing that has kept me at IJM. Cuz yes, it is, it’s rescuing. It’s doing those rescue operations and within that it’s, it’s broadening your systems and your community so you actually are partnering with local organizations to equip them to rescue, right? So at that way, so again, how do you equip communities if there is, if they are under resourced? How do you equip any of the people who can be movers in their community to do that as quickly and as effectively as they can? And that way truly IJM can be less in the picture because the community is thriving. And it’s thriving because it’s people, especially people who can’t pay for security, who can’t pay for protection are just protected because they live in the community and they trust that their community, that they’re local law enforcement officials that their local, uh, social workers will be there for them and will bring justice in situations where there isn’t injustice or that they will stop that injustice from happening.

Sarah Panus:
So why is trafficking and slavery on the rise?

Why is human trafficking and slavery on the rise?

Brittany Baker:
Yes. I mean on the rise overall, it is truly, I mean, this is actually with COVID specifically, this is where we are seeing the biggest rise. As communities that were already impoverished, that they were already just not able to get out of the situation they’re in, it’s all stacking against them again. Right? So, so as kids who are not in school, who are actually at home and maybe in abusive homes and cannot get out of that situation and they’re saying, oh my gosh, my family is sick because family is now sick more than they ever have been with COVID. They’re going out and they’re having to solve for that by getting loans. So they can pay for medical fees and medical care and people who prey upon that vulnerability are seeing that need, right? That rise in demand that rise in, hey there’s people who are looking for work because they want to protect their family or care for their family, provide for their family and we can exploit that. Then they are able to exploit that. And there is nothing that is actually putting them in check or there is, there just, isn’t a fear that law enforcement is going to actually stop them. So the need for, for families to provide for their family is on the rise as COVID is striking. And then, because that need is on the rise, the, the demand for exploit or the exploitation is actually happening, as that’s happening.

Sarah Panus:
Oh, it’s so sickening, isn’t it? I very actively follow your social channels and all the positive news, you know, that comes out of it, which is, it’s such, this is such a heavy topic and it’s such an important topic. But it shows like the work that you do, can help. Like, I love all the posts about the different people who get rescued on a regular basis, you know, or you go in and a teenager is rescued and their suspect has been arrested. Or for, you go in on a rescue of 14 kids or hundreds of people have been found. You know, I mean, it’s just so amazing and uplifting and that’s why I love. I feel like everyone listening, I know for me, it was always just such a big, heavy thing that I like. I don’t know what to do. Like I just didn’t know what to do to really help, but I feel like that’s why I love what you guys do because you, you guys make it happen and we can help fund and build awareness and, you know, and help bring, um, more action to, to what you need to have done. For sure. 

Sarah Panus:
You know, one of the story is that I thought was super eye-opening for me too. I mean, all of this has always been very eye-opening for me. Was a post, um, this was a few months ago I think, or it might have even been longer now cuz my perception of time has changed a little COVID I feel like everything kind of blends together. But was um, and the Dominican Republic and I saw that you guys worked with local law enforcement to ban childhood marriages, like child marriages. And I was like, good Lord, do you have anything you would add to that experience? Or like just that type of work that you do? Because it is just insane to me that these young girls were basically being, it was, it was kind of a backdoor for child trafficking or these older folks were marrying younger kids, but then, you know, trafficking them off. Am I understanding that right?

Brittany Baker:
Yes, that there is, I actually don’t have all the details of like the exact case work like how that actually was prevalent and how it played out day to day. But as far as trafficking and child marriage and the linkage that is there absolutely as the exploitation of the most vulnerable, who can be essentially a transactional, like they can be a transaction in, in a service. Right? That, that is what was happening. 

Sarah Panus:
Yeah. It’s just sickening. So you know, that video I mentioned in the beginning with that boy Maarko and his little sister, it was just so in incredibly well done and you guys have so many videos like that. It still sticks into my head all these years later and creating stories around such sensitive and emotionally raw topics, has it its own set of challenges and guardrails, I’m sure. So can you tell us more like how do you approach telling these stories that connect survivors with people who want to help them? 

telling stories that connect survivors with PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HELP

Brittany Baker:
Yes, super Maariko was, it was a moment. Um, it was, it brought, it brought you in deeply. I do wanna say, fist of all, you mentioned Vera earlier in this call and Vera truly was, I mean she had been at IJM for 10 years and so she actually pioneered and really drove the creative direction from us for all the videos that we have done and all of the, um, just truly, really amazing and empathetic and caring storytelling we’ve been able to do over the years. Um, and so I did wanna say that just cuz, yeah, she’s been a powerhouse and we are sad. She is no longer with us at IJM.

Sarah Panus:
But she left a wonderful legacy to continue to build on, for sure.

Brittany Baker:
She did, she did. Um, but far as how we go about storytelling, I mean here, here’s the thing. And just, just knowing through the, just for every everyone that is listening, who is in this content space, right? Storytelling is such a dance of like there is a, there is an authentic story to tell and there, and if you’re in the space of fundraising, right, if you’re in the space of awareness or advocacy or just moving the masses to take action through that story, there is a tension, a healthy tension of there’s the authentic story and then there’s what are people gonna respond to? Right? Because that’s the ultimate goal. If we’re just telling the story for the sake of telling the story and people aren’t responding in any type of action or the, or the needed action, then that story is being told at the end of the day for a, our entertainment, right? When actually the story needs to be told in this space for like to actually drive the action to end the problem, whatever, whatever problem you’re trying to end.

Brittany Baker:
And so, when it comes to how we, how we work to tell stories, how we walk the tight rope of telling them delicately telling them authentically, right? That that tension is there and I think the back and forth of, we need to understand what stories are there to tell, right? There’s so much work that happens on the ground in every country that we work in. And what are the ones that we have the most information on? What are the ones where the client or the survivor themselves wants their story to be told, right? That’s probably that’s the first check is like, do, do they actually want their story to be told, do they know what’s gonna happen with their story? So once that’s there and we, we feel confident that that person real like they, that they do want their story to be told in order to change the situation in order to, to actually create lasting change in their community, we’re then moving forward on like what is needed again for the audience actually to, does it have the elements that they need to connect with it? 

Brittany Baker:
So for super Maarko, or if you look up Ester’s story or Godwin’s story or Kashi’s story, these are all stories where something truly horrific happened. And, and the audience that watch them will never know every single detail because it’s just too much, right. People will shut down because it’s, it’s horrific. Um, and so how do we go about understanding the stories that are create impact and understanding what parts of it to tell that both honor the survivor and again, they say yes to, they sign off on and people can handle and can understand, right? You can open the door just a bit to say, yes, this is really hard. And actually was super Maarko, when we told that story via direct mail during that campaign, it was actually, that was actually said, it was said in the very beginning of the letter. And I think actually at the landing page, Hey, this is gonna be a really hard story and we wanna give you the space actually bow out. You know, it’s essentially a trigger warning of, of like, but not saying those words.

Brittany Baker:
Um, because it’s also respecting that yes, this is really hard and not everybody needs this in their, their mental space every single day. As we are looking at what is just enough to honor the, to honor the survivor and what is, what is just enough to also invite the reader and respect the space they need to be in. Help them see like, yes, this new may not happen to you or you may not, it may not be something that you can fathom because it’s just not normal on your day to day, but there are people like your daughter, like your sister, like your brother, like your father, that this is actually happening to. That they are being exploited, that they are being trafficked and beat and raped, um, beaten and raped every single day. And the way to stop that is by taking action. An IJM solution is to, again, to go in and to rescue as well as partner with local communities, partner with local law enforcement, partner with local organizations that can actually scale this work to a level that we could never do on our own. But we need the resources to do that partnering. We need the resources to be there. So that is a real action to make sure that these horrific things don’t happen to other children, women and men 

Sarah Panus:
Yeah, I know. Cause I was thinking like, you know, what is this balance of sharing without oversharing. You know, so that you don’t, so people are engaged but not turned off. And it’s like, there is that balance. So as you talked about it, I imagine then as you’re creating you your outlines and things, do you guys, do you just inherently know like how much is enough? Like, you know with, or how much is, you know, too much for your audience. Or do you kind of vet it around and, you know, get people’s reaction as you’re, as you’re kind of deciding like how much of their story that you do share that will, you know, get your donors. Cause ultimately you’re trying to get donors and get people drive people to action to, to act. Yeah

Brittany Baker:
Yeah, absolutely. So there, there is a lot of review that happens, especially with so all of the, the, the stories that I mentioned, the story that you mentioned, all of those are part of a very specific global year end campaign that we do. So there’s a lot of resources put into it, cuz it is a, a very heavy fundraising season. Um, and so with that, that means that there are multiple IJM offices that are actually reviewing that as well. And they’re giving input, not just to the product after it’s come out. Right? But also into the direction ahead of time. Right? There’s there, we’re all, there’s a huge group of people that actually help decide and try, try to get to as much consensus as you can on, Hey, what is the story type to tell, you know, stories about women and children specifically do connect with people a lot more. Right, people do see more of the, the sympathy and the empathy with women and children. So that’s things that are elements that are talked about like that. Like, Hey, if we wanna raise the most money here’s an element we need to add to the story or ensure is a part of the story.

Brittany Baker:
Um, there’s times where, you know, if we have talked about a certain case work type a lot, then we, we wanna make sure we’re keeping, we’re talking about all of our work and we’re adding in a different case work type. So for example, this past year we talked quite a bit, about bonded labor. So we’re gonna bring in, okay hey, we know that this matters. And now we’re also gonna talk about online sexual exploitation of children because it hasn’t, it’s been a bit, so we need to make sure that we’re keeping that top of mind and people also respond to that. So there’s, there’s a lot of that. It’s almost like criteria selection if you, if you, if you will, on the beginning and also can we get good photography, right? Like, can we actually to get there and tell the story is, is there the space environmentally to actually get to the place we need to go and to yeah and to get the happy photography.

Brittany Baker:
You know, that’s gonna show the emotions of what the, the survivor was going through when these terrible things were happening. And if we can’t do that, then that story isn’t gonna work for a your in campaign. So the, there is those conversations and then as the products being developed, there’s review around. So everybody comes in and it’s, and it’s okay. That actually happened with the video last year where a lot of the feedback was, hey, that one scene that was a, a stretch too far, um, for any, for any woman that’s been abused. And we, we all know the statistic of one in three women, regardless of what country you’re living in has suffered some type of abuse. If it’s hitting close home for women then we’ve gone a bit too far women in that situation. So we do have those gut checks that happen. But I would say it’s, it’s not just one person making the call. There are a lot of people that review and we oftentimes see themes in feedback. And that’s when you know, there’s something to look at. 

Sarah Panus:
Got it. It’s a nice segue too. Cuz my next question was because you are covering and people all over the world. Yeah. Like how is your content team structured, like to identify and then create all these amazing stories that you’re sharing? 

How IJM’s content team is Structured to ID and create branded stories

Brittany Baker:
Yeah. It’s a great question. I would say that’s actually changed every few years. Um, as the organization has gone through, we’ve gone through moments, cuz IJM is still, when you look at the whole nonprofit world, IJM is still fairly new. Right? Where, um, it was 1997 that we were started. So we haven’t been around for 50 years. Uh, and so in that, I think as there has been a lot of growth in new countries and where we’re working. Um, and where we are able to say here’s the vision that we have for 2030, here’s the amount of people that we want rescued that number is, is quite large, but we know it’s possible through our partners. We look at that and we say, okay, great. How do we need to be structured for agility? So that does change every few years, but that is because we’re trying to pivot to the greatest need and greatest and whatever new strategy is for the, for the greatest growth.

Brittany Baker:
But traditionally we have almost always had, uh, a creative director. We have had a filmmaker on staff, uh, this past year. We’ve had a producer who is helping with all production, um, timelines and schedule who’s on staff. We have a senior designer, senior writers that are setting that creative direction and they’re concepting. And then we have the marketing staff as well that’s leading in the marketing strategy and the distribution. Um, how are we doing this digitally? How are we doing it in direct mail, things like that. Creative as in marketing have typically worked very closely together and it’s been a team of anywhere from five people to 20 people. It depends. It depends on the year and who’s on what team. 

Sarah Panus:
And so where do you sit in that mix? 

Brittany Baker:
Yes. So right now I am leading the marketing and creative team. So we have, so the marketing, uh, mass fundraising. So that’s like all of the multichannel direct mail, email web, um, and then communications. So your media communications and creative teams, uh, are all reporting into me and are we’re all one big team together right now. 

Sarah Panus:
Cool, cool. The other videos that you mentioned, um, about Ester and Godwin and Kashi. I’ll make sure I put links, I’ll put all those videos in the show notes for everyone listening. So you guys can all, can all watch them and see them too. Is there any other like recent or in the past, like in like a brand storytelling, like content initiative that you’re particularly proud of that you’d like to share? There’s so many, I know there’s so many. I mean, every video I’m always like, oh, so good. 

Brittany Baker:
I mean, there truly, there truly are. So, our most recent, this actually isn’t our biggest campaign of the year, but our most recent story, which is actually on IJM.org right now, it’s our main homepage banner. It’s the story of Manasi, the reason I’m so proud of it is because it’s, it’s not the biggest flashiest campaign that we have ever done. But the story, it shows the monumental change you can make when you invest in finding one person, um, or responding to one person’s call. And so Manasi who was enslaved when COVID hit, she was trying to leave this facility that she was at and others were trying to leave. And as they did try to leave the owners, beat them, um, and, and beat them pretty badly. I’m not gonna go into those details again, that listeners can choose, can choose to look this up. It’s a, it’s IJM and Manasi on our homepage. And she decided to take pictures and to send those pictures out, to call for help, essentially, which if she had gotten caught, we don’t even know if she would still be alive today. And because she took that action IJM was able to hear it, they were able to go and help and work with local law enforcement to find her, and then to find actually a couple hundred people that were then released. But because of that, because there, because the local government saw what was happening, they were then moved to action to find people in 30 other brick kilns.

Brittany Baker:
And so there were 7,000 workers that were freed because of her. And it was because she took, she had the bravery to move and yes, IJM was a part of that. And IJM will always respond to those calls and will always be there. Um, but it’s not IJM does it on our own, right. We’re doing it because survivors bravery and courage, we’re doing it because local partners are, they have a, will they want to get this done. Um, and because donors send this and resources, right? The resource, the capacity, they resource, um, the people, the boots on the ground and, and the partners that are there. So I just love this story because it’s, it shows that an, that an investment made in the freedom of others truly means something. It truly goes, it truly goes to scale and, and can, it can change. It can end slavery in our lifetime. 

Sarah Panus:
That’s amazing. 7,000 workers were freed. That’s amazing. Well, and I see so much video from you guys too. Is video your most prominent format that you use to tell these survivor stories and, you know, get your education across? Or what would you say your mix looks like?

Brittany Baker:
Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, video is not our most prominent that we actually save the, the higher production videos are typically saved for year end, but before, during year end and throughout the rest of the year, we actually have a, a campaign going on about once a month. And that goes out via direct mail, email, uh, landing pages, social. So we have, we do integrated marketing. We have all of it together and it’s telling the same story across every channel, essentially the strategy being, um, we people these days, we are all over. And even if you may not open your mail as much, when you see IJM’s logo on that direct mail piece, you’re, you may then be like, oh, that’s right. And then you’re gonna Google it. And that’s gonna send you to our website. And we wanna ensure that there is consistency. So we’re saying, Hey, we are here for you, right? World is moving quickly. And we wanna meet you wherever you are at, and just show you that we’re ready for you to partner and make an impact in this world.

Sarah Panus:
Beautiful. Okay. So I think this is a good time for a break, and this is usually the part where I’ll do a commercial break, Brittany. But instead today everyone, I’m gonna be inviting you to help me raise money to fund child trafficking rescue missions through International Justice Mission. So one rescue mission, it costs less than $7,000 and together we can literally help IJM rescue kids, women, and men like Brittany has just been talking about. And any dollar amount is welcome. I mean, if you wanna donate $5, you, instead of getting your Starbucks, you know, through the drive through, great! $25, $500, $5,000, you know, whatever um, you’re able to will help. Because collectively we can work together to make this goal. You can donate, um, and ask your company if they’ll donate or, or match funds. And so I’ve set up a fundraising page that you can go to. And it’s on my website kindredspeak.com/donate. So it’s kindredspeak.com/donate. So Brittany, when people donate to IJM, like what does the money go toward? 

What your donations can provide

Brittany Baker:
Absolutely. Our word. So we are, we are in four different regions throughout the world. Um, and so our we’re in Latin America, Asia Pacific, um, Africa and Europe, um, and then south Asia where we are on the ground and we are working to rescue and restore victims. Um, that looks like investigations that looks like social workers that like, um, really actually well lawyers, right? So actually even taking their case and taking that to court. So that is on the ground, on the rescues in all of those regions of the world, we’re bringing those criminals to justice. So again, I mentioned that we have lawyers on the ground and we’re also working very much. So with partner organizations that also have lawyers that also are community activists or are social workers in the, a community who are ensuring that these cases actually get through the system that they are, that they are seen by or heard by judges and heard by juries. 

Brittany Baker:
And that there are, that justice is brought, uh, for survivors and, and yeah, for those perpetrators. And then we are scaling demand through, for protection. And what this means is in local communities. So this, the, the, the donations that come through mean that we can actually be on the ground. Again, I cannot stress enough is always with local communities. Um, 95% of even our staff are actually local to their, to the countries in which we’re working. Um, they’re nationals in those countries. And we are advocating with the, with the community to say, Hey, it is not normal or okay. And it doesn’t have to be this way forever for a child to fear walking to school, because they’re going to get taken and abused on the way that that has to change that doesn’t and it’s, and Hey, if you are getting abused in your home, we can build trust for you to take at, to local law enforcement for you to call IJM, because it won’t be ignored. We will be able to change this. Um, and it’s really creating the demand and scaling demand to say, Hey, violence, doesn’t have to be your normal everyday occurrence. It is your right to be safe in your house and in your community. And we are trying to work with communities to really advocate for that and for that to, and to change the norm of everyday violence. 

Sarah Panus:
And what are your most urgent needs? 

Brittany Baker:
Oh, I mean, it’s, it’s one of those things where most urgent needs, it’s all urgent. It’s all urgent. I know it’s I know it feels, uh, typical, but most urgent needs is actually the it’s the flexible revenue. It’s it’s saying, Hey, this is money. That is not earmarked for one thing, because COVID is a great example. COVID changed the game for everybody, right? This is something where like, if there was, if there was money that was given, that was very, very specifically tagged, right? It, we can’t, you can only use it a certain way, but having the money where it’s a general donation, it actually means COVID comes in, which means, oh, sex. So online sexual exploitation of children increases because you have more people at home they’re on their computers and they are alone. And so they have an interest in, in exploiting children. 

Brittany Baker:
And then you have families that are saying, Hey, we need money. So yes, we will exploit our children online because we need money to survive. We need money to take care of our ourselves and take care of our sick, our loved ones. And so that was something that was not going to increase as rapidly if COVID hadn’t hit, but COVID did hit. And so because of that flexible cash, we are able to respond to that in a more meaningful way. So it’s situations like that. That again, it’s, sometimes it, it can feel like, oh, is it really urgent? Like, is it really is general the best way to give her like a general donation, the best way to give. And I actually can confidently say it is because it, that is what allows us to respond to needs that we cannot predict. 

Sarah Panus:
Well, okay. So that’s perfect actually, because my fundraising page that I set up is auto going into your urgent needs pool. So, okay. Thank you. Yeah, of course. So all the money that everyone that you donate, that I donate, like that goes into fund the most urgent needs to help rescue and fund whatever needs to be done. Um, that’s most critical, which of course it’s all critical. So it’s probably a weird question to ask of like, what’s your most urgent cuz it’s all urgent. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Um, is there anything I should have asked you about, but I haven’t yet?

Brittany Baker:
Oh, that’s a, that’s a fun question. Um, yeah, I don’t, I think, I don’t know if it’s necessarily a question. I think the thing that I so desperately want people to cling to during a lot of this, like during a lot of the hard conversations, just hearing the hard things is actually, um, a lot of what IJM, we actually did a campaign last year called stories of hope. And while this, while the reality is very sobering and very hard of the, the reality of the, the abuse, the beautiful thing is there’s also a large reality of courage and bravery and seeing people completely overcome things. We, I never would’ve assumed someone could overcome it doesn’t mean that it’s, that the work isn’t urgent, cause it absolutely is. But I think there is in these moments, which we can, again, it can feel really dark and can sometimes feel hopeless. I think the, I would encourage people to cling, to cling to the hope that can be and the hope that is because it’s, it’s always there and it can be on such a larger scale, especially as we work together to tackle any problems that move our hearts. Right? It’s not, it doesn’t have to just be people ending trafficking. And if there is a problem that is moving you, that you feel stirred by take that step and there’s, there is hope in that. 

Sarah Panus:
Oh I love that. That’s a, it’s a great way to end our discussion today. So thank you again for joining me and for all the amazing work that you and your entire organization do to really, truly impact and change people’s lives. 

Brittany Baker:
Yeah, thank you. And thank you again for having me. It’s it’s fun to talk to, so thank you.

Sarah Panus:
Absolutely. Okay folks. So like I said, I’m gonna put links to all those amazing videos, um, that we were talking through. If you wanna take a look, you can head over to the show notes and watch those. And I, again, invite you to join me like in helping rescue more kids and men and women that are trapped in trafficking and slavery, your company may even donate or do a match. So go ahead, ask ’em ask ’em Hey, I I’m, you know, I wanna donate to this thing. Could you do a match or donate with me again? You can donate by going to kindredspeak.com/donate again, that’s kindredspeak.com/donate. That’s my website. I don’t see a dime of your donation. Um, it all goes to IJM to fund, you know, their important urgent needs and their important work. And this is a way that we can help, you know, from a, from a distance we can help through advocacy. 

Sarah Panus:
We can help through awareness. And this, like I said, is just so near and dear to my heart, you’re gonna continue to keep you me do this. And this is the first time I’m doing a formal fundraising blitz for IJM, but I would like to make this an annual thing I do each year and we’ll just keep growing it year after year after year together. So, um, so thank you from the bottom of my heart, I really appreciate it. Until next time, Kindred Speakers.

Closing Remarks

Sarah Panus:
Hi fives for finishing another episode. When faced with an obstacle, you’re the type of person who gets better instead of bitter. I hope you feel creatively inspired and invite you to check back often for more goodness from me and my guest. If you want more actionable advice and inspiration head over to kindredspeak.com for show notes, all discount codes from today’s episode, and to sign up for my newsletter. Subscribe now to the Marketing With Empathy Podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify and wherever else you get your podcast. And if you’d be so kind, will you please leave me a review. This helps my podcast get noticed by others. Keep smiling.

Get brand Storytelling inspiration, tips and support – sign up now

Stay informed as new brand storytelling classes, webinars, courses and inspiration is shared. Sign up to join Sarah’s brand storytelling newsletter. SIGN UP

ABOUT SARAH PANUS

Sarah Panus is a brand storytelling marketing strategist, Minnesota mom, and owner of Kindred Speak, LLC, a remote consultancy that helps corporations attract upper-funnel leads that drive bottom-funnel results through storytelling.  Her mission is to add value to the world by humanizing brand+consumer connections. Her online courses teach content professionals inside corporations think like Editorial Directors for their brand to drive stronger results while enjoying their jobs more.  She’s spent the last 20 years helping brands including Sleep Number, Starbucks, Nestle Waters, Christos Bridal, Game Crazy, Cone Inc, and others, speak a kindred language with their audiences, driving brand advocacy and millions in revenue and brand engagements. Learn more at www.kindredspeak.com. Follow Sarah on Instagram and LinkedIn.