As MCCOY’s Communications Director and also a student at IUPUI’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, I was thrilled when I was able to complete my graduate Capstone Project with MCCOY. Myself with a group of four other Masters’ students were asked by MCCOY to research how to create and implement an effective Public Awareness Campaign. As a strategy of MCCOY’s Early Intervention and Prevention Initiative, MCCOY plans to run a child abuse and neglect prevention campaign later this year into early next year. My group’s Capstone Project is sure to be a huge stepping stone for MCCOY to venture into this big project, but also for other organizations that hope to run successful campaigns to motivate the community to action.
Below is a synopsis of our project and findings:
An effective campaign includes the following characteristics: grabs the attention of the target audience, communicates a clear and trustworthy message, delivers a message that changes the behavior, attitude, and knowledge of the audience, and brings about actions from audience toward desired outcomes (Weiss & Tschirhart, 1994). MCCOY has asked the Campaign Advisory Board (CAB), graduate students in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, to:
• Create a working definition of the term “at-risk”;
• Determine the location of the “at-risk” population within Marion County;
• Establish best practices needed to create the strategies and messaging for a campaign;
• Ascertain the most effective form of distributing the message; and
• Develop a tool to evaluate effectiveness after the completion of the campaign.
To perform these tasks, CAB conducted significant primary and secondary research. Once the term “at-risk” was defined and the population was located, the team conducted key informant interviews with marketing executives at non-profit organizations to confirm research findings regarding effective campaigns. Finally, CAB conducted surveys among at-risk clients utilizing services at EIP partnering organizations to determine which services and outreach methods are being used and the reasons for preferences.
CAB used the analysis to produce a list of steps necessary to create and implement an effective public awareness campaign, providing groundwork for MCCOY to determine the type of campaign, objectives, audience, messaging, strategies, tactics, budget, and evaluation. Finally, CAB developed a campaign plan for MCCOY and the following list of short-term, intermediate, and long-term recommendations for MCCOYwere to:
• Increase awareness of prevention and intervention services and providers in Marion County.
• Motivate people to seek out these services and spread the word to others about these services.
Phase One Recommendations (Short-term)
• Utilize a campaign logic model similar to the one CAB provided.
• Develop Partnerships with other local organizations.
• Secure funding for campaign through corporate sponsorships, grant dollars, and fundraising.
• Determine whether a PR firm is monetarily feasible based upon funding.
Phase Two Recommendations (Intermediate)
• Build a consistent brand identity for the Early Intervention & Prevention Initiative as well as the organizations that provide these services.
• Create a sense of urgency in the community to seek intervention and prevention services through campaign messaging.
• Educate the community about the issues and consequences of child abuse and neglect.
• Define and describe intervention and prevention services.
• Utilize social media, radio, direct marketing, collateral material, and outdoor advertising as outreach outlets for the EIP campaign.
Phase Three Recommendations (Long-term)
• Utilize television as another outreach method.
• Apply the evaluation tool CAB has developed for evaluation purposes.
Have you found this project helpful and want additional information? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-921-1226.