BREAKING THE SILENCE ON CHILD ABUSE WITH A COAST-TO-COAST CAMPAIGN.
Help for Children (HFC) retained The Wakeman Agency to increase awareness of the nonprofit’s work providing grants to the most effective child abuse prevention and treatment programs in six countries. The organization had received little press and was not widely recognized in spite of their distribution of more than $51 million in grants in 20 years. When HFC created Run2Heal, a 3,000-mile cross-country run by ultra-endurance athlete Christian Griffith, it presented an opportunity for The Wakeman Agency to build HFC’s public presence using media relations, event coordination, and social media.
ROADMAP FOR A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN
The Wakeman Agency formulated a multi-tiered communications strategy to be executed prior to and during the marathon, even though we were retained only two weeks before Run2Heal was to launch in New York City. Our plan required a nuanced approach to highlight the work of Help For Children, the efforts of the organizations it funds, and Griffith’s story, who himself is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
We focused on generating media coverage for Run2Heal across the entire country, with particular stories timed with Griffith’s presence in various states during his run. This approach required connecting with local and regional media outlets across the US and tracking exactly where Griffith would be and when he would be there during his run. His route did not always go according to plan due to weather and personal developments. Therefore, we had to execute a flexible yet timely media plan that accounted for the time limitations of various outlets and the obstacles of a cross-country run.
We also emphasized the human stories at the core of HFC’s work by developing a social media strategy that promoted awareness of child abuse as a persistent issue and the efforts of organizations in preventing further abuse and in helping survivors to heal. This awareness campaign was advanced by in-person rallies, meetings, and events along Griffith’s route to connect with survivors, highlight local organizations, and promote fundraising. Over the course of the five-month run, Wakeman kept in close contact with Griffith’s handler who traveled the distance with him, taking photos and giving us insight into what was happening on the ground. These “in the moment” interactions helped us shape a campaign that was deeply personal, allowing us to create emotional connections between Griffith and key audiences.
The Wakeman Agency’s work on this nationwide campaign resulted in:
- 80+ major print, web, TV, and radio stories that began with coverage of the Run2Heal kickoff event in NYC that was covered by People, USA Today, Daily News, Inside Edition, ABC, Fox, and other media outlets.
- 45+ local and regional stations running Public Service Announcements (PSAs) customized to the cities along the run and the specific organizations that received funding from HFC and worked on the front lights of fighting child abuse in each location. This PSA campaign was also connected to 5K events that Run2Heal hosted in three cities.
- A multi-platform social media campaign across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to raise awareness about child abuse and engage more people in the crucial conversations about prevention and healing. Posts documented Griffith’s journey and gave followers a platform to speak out and become advocates.
- National coverage of the Run2Heal conclusion event in San Francisco, including a feature in Runners World and an ABC-TV segment that was broadcasted in the Bay Area and New York markets.
- Coordinated opportunities for Griffith to connect with other survivors in person at various rallies in big cities, more intimate gatherings in small towns, and along the roadside during the run. He also met with the dedicated people who work and volunteer at organizations that receive funding from HFC and various donors at fundraising events. These events furthered critical discussions about healing and resulted in a groundswell of support for HFC and its efforts.
THE FINISH LINE
The Wakeman Agency executed a multi-tiered outreach program to advance the public presence of HFC and the importance of organizations that work to prevent child abuse and to help survivors heal. This successful campaign assisted HFC in expanding awareness of their work through comprehensive media coverage, social media informational campaigns, and human-centered dialogue at in-person events. Overall, The Wakeman Agency’s work on behalf of HFC accomplished the client’s goals and advanced conversations and public awareness on this crucial social issue.
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