PR Campaign: Back To School Roundup

Information:

This was a Public Relation Case Studies course (3000 level) final assignment. We were to completely create a PR campaign for a real-world company the non-profit Back To School Round Up. This included: research, SWOT analysis, objectives, tactics, reasoning for our chosen tactics and how we could evaluate our campaign results. On this particular assignment I received a 95 as a final grade.

Research

With staggering poverty levels in Tarrant County that are greater than the national levels, the children of the county have come to depend on the generous donations of the Back To School Roundup organization.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, 21 percent of children under 18 within the county live in poverty.  With current school supply costs just under $500 per child, as stated by the 2010 Huntington Backpack Index, this poses many hardships for the parents of the county school children. In fact, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that poverty rose in Tarrant County from 12 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2009. Because of this upward trend in poverty, the Back To School Roundup has become even more vital to the families within the community.

With the poverty levels estimated to be even higher this year, the demands placed on the services of Back To School Roundup have increased as well.  Therefore, the organization is in greater need of sponsors and donations to keep up with these demands of the impoverished children and families of Tarrant County.

Several factors that influence charitable giving are online activity, religious affiliations and income. These are paramount to understand because they can aide in gaining donors for the Back To School Roundup organization.

NPTrends: a Blackbaud Blog research stated that online donations are growing rapidly and have grown more than 34 percent over the last few years. In the current technology age, an online presence is vital. Current research by Blackbaud, Inc. shows that 79 percent of all non-profit website activity are donors.

Another demographic that is critical for non-profits is the religious individual. Arthur Brooks, the author of Who Really Cares, said that churchgoers are four times more likely than non-churchgoers to donate money to various causes. And City-Data.com states that more than 71 percent of those Tarrant Country individuals affiliate with Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist or Methodist churches. Brooks also states that conservatives are 30 percent more likely to donate money than their liberal counterparts. Texas is a very conservative state, and Tarrant Country is in the top 100 of the most “conservative-friendly” counties nationally, according to The Daily Caller.

Income is another factor that influences giving. Again, NPTrends shows that 68 percent of all non-profit donations in 2009 came from individuals who made $25,000 to $100,000 annually. And Brooks said that those who make over $1 million per year account for 50 percent of annual charitable donations.

A reasonable method of garnering additional donors for Back To School Roundup organization is outreach program geared toward individuals that are tech savvy, churchgoers and/or part of the middle and upper-middle class.


Situation Analysis

 

In the field of such a multitude of non-profit organizations, separation is key. Back To School Roundup is unique in many ways such as: they are an organization that combines over 20 local non-profits together to help support a larger number of children; they offer more than just school supplies:  free haircuts, $10 vaccinations, free family health check-ups, free child vision and dental checks, parental information including financial responsibility, nutrition, literacy classes and more.

 

Strengths

Some of the organization’s strengths include the large number and multi-disciplinary sponsors from Wal-Mart to Chase Bank to Apple Orthodontics; this aids in their ability to offer such varied opportunities to the impoverished children and families of Tarrant County.

Also, because Back To School Roundup is 100 percent volunteer based, it enables the organization to funnel all their charitable donations directly to funding their annual event, rather than salaries.

Another strength would be the reach that Back To School Roundup has been able to make. It started off in 2004 giving aide only to 6,000 children in Tarrant County and now has approximately 15,000 students and their families attending the annual event.

 

Weaknesses

 

Even though one of their strengths is their reach across Tarrant County, it can also be considered a weakness because there are so many children in need; they need vastly more donors and sponsors to get involved to cover their costs for the event.

Because there are such high poverty rates among children of grade school age, the limited resources of Back To School Roundup is a problem. At this point in time, they are only able to process 15,000 children and families. This makes up only a portion of those in need.

Although it is an obvious good deed they are doing, there is no actual empirical or hard data to back up what they’re doing to support whether they are making an actual difference in the kids’ scholastic lives. Therefore, some donors who might research their non-profits before donating – and research done at NPTrends Blog shows 65 percent do at least an hour of research – might be conflicted to donate because they are unable to find the breakdown of what their money does for children.

 

Opportunities

 

There are many opportunities present for Back To School Roundup. For example, the organization could sign on more individual donors and corporate sponsorships as it raises more awareness and recognition throughout the non-profit and charitable communities.

With more donors they could hold more than just one annual event, therefore, providing aide to more children and more families. If they are able to acquire enough recognition and sponsorship Back To School Roundup could expand to all of Dallas-Fort Worth counties and give aide to all impoverished and needy school children in the metroplex.

Another opportunity with gaining enough recognition could be a sponsor who donates space needed to hold the annual event, since at this point they are having to use donor money to purchase the space for their event.

 

Threats

 

The most prevalent threat is the current economy. The economy will adversely affect Back To School Roundup on both ends by limiting donation dollars, but increasing the need for their services from increased poverty.

In addition, with the possible decreased dollars, they will have they still have to pay for the venue they hold the event at, limiting their funds and resources even more.

If they were to expand their community reach to other counties, they would have more organizations to compete with and more donor dollars to compete for.

 

Target Audience

 

Since research shows that the largest givers fall under individuals who are tech savvy, affiliated with a church and/or a part of the middle or upper-middle class, the PR campaign should focus on those demographics.

Further research published by Blackbaud, Inc. shows that women tend to donate at higher levels than men, and therefore, should focus on women who meet the mentioned requirements. Even more specifically moms are more charitable, especially to children and educational organizations.

Objectives

 

  • Increase awareness and brand identity
  • Increase website traffic by 10% by the end of the campaign
  • Bolster individual donors by at least 10% by the end of the campaign
  • Cultivate more corporate sponsors, specifically to cover at least one parking lot at Will Rogers Memorial Center


Tactic Recommendations

 

“Roundup for Education” Hula-Hoop Contest

 

Research published by NPTrends Blog shows that the majority of donations are one-time donations; therefore, Back To School Roundup should utilize high impact and high population areas to gain the greatest amount of donations possible. Back To School Roundup would partner with a local fitness non-profit bringing more recognition to the event.

Malls are venues that reach thousands of consumers every day, and on the weekend, that number greatly increases. Back To School Roundup could host a hula-hoop contest at every mall within Tarrant County. To maximize the number of contestants it would be held during the malls peak busy hours on Saturday, so from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The contest would take place close to the “kids corner” of each mall as to draw the greatest amount of moms.

Back To School Roundup would partner will mall vendors and campaign for donated gift cards from the vendors ranging from $5 to $20 gift cards. The vendors could be inclined to join not only because of the cause, but also because of profitable reasons. For example, a patron who might not have come to the store would buy products because of the gift card they received. Therefore, both Back To School Roundup and the vendors would benefit mutually. Plus, consumers typically spend more money than on the gift card, creating additional revenue for the participating vendors.

The contest would be broken up by age ranges and consist of who can hula-hoop the longest. To bolster the amount of donations there would be an entry fee for the contest of $1 to $3. The winner of each category and of each rotation would receive both a Back To School Roundup t-shirt – that would be designed with the logo and website visible – and a gift card of their choice.

In addition, to the prizes, t-shirts and gift cards would be for sale, both for $5, with all the proceeds going directly to the organization.

The performance factor in a public contest would draw larger crowds.  In addition to just the crowd, a media advisory would be sent to all local media outlets before each event at each mall. The media coverage would strengthen the crowds and the donations.

To help increase awareness of the program at each location during the malls’ Saturday hours, Back To School Roundup would have an information table by the “kids corner” with fliers that include the website and social media contacts, information about Back To School Roundup, statistics and a donor contact card. This would enable Back To School Roundup to gain more supporters and more awareness.


“Baking for Back to School” Bake Sale

To capitalize on the mom demographic, Back To School Roundup would sponsor and host an event that would be held at select school’s Open House night. The Back To School Roundup would pick schools in the wealthiest zip codes throughout Tarrant County.

To maximize the reach of the Back To School Roundup, the involved schools and their corresponding PTA programs would send the following to all parents of the school: a letter from the PTA President, an e-mail blast and a phone tree message. These would include information about Back To School Roundup, a sign-up for volunteers to sell baked goods, and information on poverty and relevant statistics, as well as website and social media contacts. To the volunteers that sign up, the Back To School Roundup organization would send a care package that includes: a thank you letter, recipes that could be used, a t-shirt, magnet and education themed cellophane packaging to use for the baked goods.

During the open house event at each participating school, the bake sale table would have free book covers that feature Back To School Roundup and fun facts, t-shirts for sale, the baked goods and an “adopt-a-kid” lunchbox shaped fliers. The baked goods would sell for no more than $2, the t-shirts would be sold for $5 and the “adopt-a-kid” would sell for $25, with all proceeds going to Back To School.

The lunchbox adoption flier would hold information on what the money purchases, what the Back To School Roundup provides to impoverished kids and their families, and website and social media contact information.

 

“Koffee for Kids”

The one thing that middle and upper-middle class workers are dependent on is coffee. Starbucks is one of the number one coffee sellers in the United States and has a good corporate citizen standard. Therefore, it is an ideal company to partner with in collecting donations from the target demographic.

There are two ways that Back To School Roundup and Starbucks could gain donations. First, have one coffee drink designated for the promotion and have 100 percent of its purchase dollars go to Back To School. Or second, have a percentage, such as 10 percent, of all proceeds during the promotion period go to Back To School Roundup. In addition to the sales-based corporate donations, Starbucks would also implement a point-of-sale donation with the customer given the option to add a certain dollar amount to their purchase to go to Back To School Roundup.

This promotion would take place during the month of August at all Tarrant County Starbucks locations. It would be held during August because back to school is a major selling point throughout retailers during this time.


Corporate Sponsored Parking

 

The United States considers poverty for the family of four to be about $22,000 a year. With about 15 percent of Tarrant County meeting that guideline, most families judiciously count their dollars. Will Rogers Memorial venue charges $5 for every parking lot around the venue for the actual roundup event. Most families that qualify for the help from Back To School Roundup simply cannot afford to dole out extra money during this time.

One way to alleviate this issue would be to partner with a corporate sponsor from within the Tarrant community. One industry that would be fitting to sponsor this would be the automotive industry.

The Vandergriff Auto Group would be ideal to partner with. They would offer “valet tickets” to families who came to any of their dealerships with vouchers given out during all the pre-registration events the Back To School Roundup held. With these vouchers, they would be able to park in designated lots around the venue upon the day of the event.

 

“Prayers for Poverty”

 

With churchgoers being the most giving demographic and Hometownlocator.com listing 942 churches in Tarrant County, there are large numbers of potential donors available.

This proposed event would be a two-pronged one: first having speakers visit the services on Sunday and then getting involved with the Women’s Bible Study groups. Back To School Roundup would pick the six largest churches within the county and each Sunday during all services would have a speaker presentation to speak about what Back To School Roundup is and to collect any donations.

The speaker for this event would be someone who has benefitted from the services of Back To School Roundup — either a child and mother or a teen. The presentation during the services would feature a PowerPoint to supplement the speaker’s story. The PowerPoint would have pictures from previous events, the services provided at each event, statistics on poverty, and website and social media contacts.

In addition to the presentation, fliers would be posted on the community boards located in each mega-church.

The second part of this campaign event would to involve 10 of the largest churches Women’s Bible groups in the county. The purpose of this campaign event is to call to action the influencers in the groups. Back To School would give small presentations in each group and deliver information packets.

The information packets would include: a pamphlet or brochure giving background information about Back To School Roundup and statistics, 10 free t-shirts and ideas on ways to raise money for the cause. Some ideas that might be included would be races, bake sales and recipes, community garage sales, car washes and block parties where either all or a percentage of the money raised would go to Back To School Roundup.

To bolster donations Back To School would implement a donating competition between all 10 Women’s groups. The competition would last the month of June, and the goal set for each group would be $3,000. At the end of the competition a party would be hosted by Back To School Roundup to present an award to the winner of the competition.

The competition would create a fun atmosphere that would energize the women to become even more active in pulling together and collecting more donations.

 

Evaluation

 

General Evaluations

 

  • Total dollars donated through the campaign
    • Amount of money donated at events
    • Amount of money donated through the website
    • Website activity

 

Hula Hoop Contest Evaluation

 

  • Number of vendors involved
  • Media in attendance
  • Number of contestants
  • Number of t-shirts sold

 

Open House Bake Sale

 

  • Number of volunteers
  • Number of schools involved
  • Number of kids “adopted”
  • Number of t-shirts sold

 

Starbucks

 

  • Sales posted

 

Prayers for Poverty

 

  • Number of volunteers
  • Number of events hosted by Women’s Bible Groups


Rationale

 

Each tactic recommendation corresponds with a demographic that has been proven to give the most to charities like the Back To School Roundup.

The mall event targets moms/women, middle class, those who have money to spend and a large audience. Partnering with another non-profit that focuses on fitness helps create more media buzz, which will help obtain larger crowds and, therefore, more donation potential.

The Open House event again targets moms and individuals who would be most sympathetic to the education problem in the community. By targeting the schools in the most affluent zip codes, Back To School Roundup is able to utilize valuable efforts to increase the chances of those willing and able to give.

Starbucks is a company that many perceive as a good corporate citizen, which bolsters the message of giving. This provides a great charitable environment that targets the middle and upper-middle class who can afford to purchase coffee. Also, because most who purchase Starbucks do so daily, which casts a wider net with this target audience.

Since those affiliated with conservative churches tend to be more generous than those who do not, the church events target the largest audiences in a very specific demographic. This offers the best chance at getting the most donation dollars. The Bible Study events create a chance to get influencers to generate ideas and invest time and money into the Back To School Roundup. This campaign occasion could produce many recurring events and donors.

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