The Very Beginning

Teri Holtkamp, executive director of The Cove in Waco, Texas. Photo credit: Waco Tribune Herald

by Kat Largent

It’s a very good place to start.

I’ll admit I had some hesitations when we chose The Cove as the organization we would serve throughout this semester, purely because, like so many others, I didn’t really know what it was. To be quite honest, I thought it was an apartment complex, which Cameron, our connection to The Cove, told us is actually a common misconception. Perhaps we should address this in our branding strategies?

We really ended up choosing because Cameron had a connection and already works at The Cove regularly. But the more I learn about The Cove’s mission, however, the more I’m pleased and excited about our choice. The Cove has really done some impressive things for homeless youth in Waco, especially considering it’s only existed for a year.

An overview of just what The Cove is all about

The Cove partners with Waco ISD to serve their homeless students, who run the risk of falling into gang violence or human trafficking without a positive, safe environment to develop as citizens and spend their time.

It’s a really cool concept, and the part that sells me on it the most is how specialized and specific it is. The Cove knows what it’s about, what it wants to be, who it can viably serve, and what it’s not, and that can’t be so easily said of many nonprofits.

The very specific, niche audience of The Cove means that they are not trying to be everything for everyone, which, unless you’re Walmart or Google, you really can’t do effectively or efficiently. This definitely works to The Cove’s advantage, helping them to keep from spreading thin and to really focus on effectively serving the market they know they can serve well.

When evaluating The Cove’s audience, it gets a bit tricky. While the most obvious public is the children being served by The Cove, they’re most likely not the ones at whom messaging needs to be aimed. They’re not the ones most in control over whether they engage with the organization or not.

We need to make sure that we speak to the general Waco public, aiming to increase awareness of the organization’s work in the community. The folks that can donate money, in-kind donations or their time or services are the ones we’re aiming to reach.

When conducting our SWOT analysis, we found ourselves in a good situation–The Cove has a lot going for it, a lot of strengths and opportunities. It also has several weaknesses and threats, but those can also just be opportunities to improve, cover our bases and develop plans of action, and turn potentially negative situations into opportunities for learning and growth.

For an organization so new, they have already received some great publicity, including some features in the Waco Tribune-Herald.

SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

I think the biggest asset to The Cove, besides the obvious expertise and guidance of Teri Holtkamp, the executive director, is the partnership that has already been established with Waco ISD. That partnership ensures the continuous flow of youths that can benefit from the program’s services, and it ensures that at least these students will always know there is a safe place for them to go.

The biggest area of expansion and focus is simply raising awareness in others so they can choose to support the organization’s mission. That is why we chose to focus on fundraising for our campaign project. That way we can expand our reach while tangibly benefiting the organization in a way that transcends likes on Facebook or attendance at an event. Not only will these goals be achieved but The Cove can also walk away with concrete, financial gains from the campaign.

Find out a little bit more about The Cove and what they do for the youths they serve by watching this video:


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