If you want to know the ins and outs of nonprofit work, or even just hear some of their stories, a local radio show has you covered. KC Cares, which airs on radio and streams online, focuses on details of local nonprofit entities.
Although the program started life strictly as a radio show, it now has a video element available via YouTube and Facebook, as well as a podcast available on Spotify, iHeartRadio and Apple.
For those who still want it on analog, it airs on ESPN 94.5 FM and 1510 AM at 8 a.m. Saturdays.
Bill Brandmeyer and Rick Monday originally started the show at KC Creative, but Monday left, followed by Brandmeyer in 2017. Current host Ruth Baum Bigus (a freelance writer for The Kansas City Star and the Journal) had already started co-host at this point, and Lee’s Summit resident Bobby Keys was also doing the tech work.
In 2018, Keys and Bigus formed the nonprofit Charitable Communications to produce the show. The video element came after the 2020 closings.
For the past three years, the show has secured funding from the Kauffman Foundation, and Keys said they recently learned the foundation will be funding them for three more years.
“It’s pretty cool that they believe in us. They love what we do, just being able to shine a light and tell the stories of other nonprofits, and help provide solutions for people just starting out in the nonprofit world,” Keys said.
Nonprofit workers can request to be invited to the show on the KC Cares website, kccaresonline.org. Both Keys and Bigus are involved in guest selection. They try to hit organizations dealing with various community issues, including immigration, housing, women’s rights and more. They avoid politics, Keys said.
Many episodes deal with fundraising, as it is an essential part of how nonprofits operate.
One of the show’s focal points is to share the struggles various nonprofits face in helping others who might be in the same situation. Often they have an “ask the expert” episode to target other specific issues.
Episodes featuring nonprofit staff members talking about their organizations serve a dual purpose. Not only do they share stories with the public and other nonprofits, but the organizations themselves can then use the recording as a promotional tool.
“They can then take the video that we provide to them, the podcast and all the material that we provide to them. They can use this as marketing material for themselves, so they can target donors, generate donations and help with communication impact,” Keys said.
Providing this service is important to Keys.
Marketing is difficult for nonprofits, which are often understaffed, Keys said.
“They don’t have the technology or the understanding of technology to be able to market with the lack of funds that they usually have. Being able to help them tell their story and help them communicate their impact is pretty cool. It’s always great to see them thrive and survive in a saturated market,” Keys said.
During the show, while Bigus conducts the interviews, Keys does all the technical work behind the scenes to change the video, release it, and all the other things needed to get it out there. It also gathers related web and social media content in addition to graphics.
When he’s not helping produce KC Cares, Keys has his own creative agency and serves as the Royals’ musical director.
“It’s a lot of work, but one thing that agency work has taught me is how much work I can handle. I love the creative world. I like helping non-profit organizations. Ruth loves helping nonprofits,” Keys said.
Being able to contribute to local charities is refreshing for Keys.
“It enriches your soul. It feels good to be able to help the community and do good things,” he said.
He hopes to make even more on-site videos for nonprofits in the future.