To follow up on a previous post requesting feedback on topics and offering to highlight members of the community, I learned of Guideposts.com—a site devoted to helping people find and reach their potential. This site interested me not so much from an entrepreneurial standpoint, but because of its history.
The nonprofit organization was founded in 1945 by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and his wife, Ruth Stafford Peale. GUIDEPOSTS is involved in a number of activities including award-winning magazines, best-selling books, websites and outreach services such as free distribution of GUIDEPOSTS materials to hospitals, the military and families in need; comfort kits for children in hospitals; and coordination of the Knit for Kids project that has sent over 600,000 sweaters to needy children abroad.
Primarily a print medium, GUIDEPOSTS is enjoying their foray into technology and social media, which has expanded its audience and enabled direct dialogue with their customers.
Being able to build a site that truly can and does inspire people is a great part of my job. — Philip Charles-Pierre, VP Digital Media
The biggest challenge their VP of digital media is dealing with right now is incorporating all the new technologies. Having roots in print and adding in new things (online publishing, social media can be quite the cold shower for many organizations). Charles-Pierre says that social media and online initiatives have allowed his publication to reach a broader audience.
“There are still a lot of people in our target audience that don’t quite understand why Guideposts and Guideposts.com are relevant to them. We are merely using the tools they use to let them know about relevant content,” Charles-Pierre says, including such tools as Facebook, Twitter, and widgets.
He adds that it is important to reach readers wherever they are gathering online.
Charles-Pierre enjoys the challenge of helping to reshape the business at a time when publishers are struggling. Guideposts continues to adapt its approach to ensure it is serving key audiences while attracting new pockets of readers. “We fundamentally believe our content appeals to both the devout and those who do not consider themselves spiritual, in nature. Good advice and guidance – as well as compelling content – appeals to all people, and we strive to make that case to the public at large.”
A little bit about the original founders:
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
One of the foremost motivational speakers of the 20th century, Dr. Peale wrote 46 books, including the inspirational best-seller The Power of Positive Thinking, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for 186 consecutive weeks. Still available today, the book has sold more than 20 million copies in 42 languages.
For more than five decades, Dr. Peale was the pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. He spoke to an average of 100 groups a year until he was 93, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.
Ruth Stafford Peale
The daughter of a minister, Ruth Stafford graduated from Syracuse University and taught mathematics before her marriage in 1930. Although she worked closely with her husband in all aspects of his ministry, she also established a separate identity as a religious leader, public speaker and author. She was cofounder, publisher and chairman of the board of GUIDEPOSTS and a member of the board of directors of American Bible Society, Interchurch Center, Blanton-Peale Institute and Laymen’s National Bible Committee.