Grassroots outreach. Frequently it’s the best way to communicate your message to your target audience, but “grassroots” could be listed in the thesaurus as a synonym for “extremely time consuming.” In the absence of a money tree, you might think public service announcements are the only option to spread your message. While PSAs can be compelling – think about recent efforts to reduce texting while driving – the call to action isn’t as effective if it’s not specifically reaching the people who most need to hear it.
One way to effectively reach the “right” people is to strike key partnerships with community leaders, business groups and civic organizations to leverage their credibility and relationships. By virtue of their closeness to your target audience, these groups understand how to adapt your message to motivate change.
A good example is our recently executed effort on behalf of Ready Georgia, an emergency preparedness campaign of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). “Be prepared” is a message all Georgians need to hear as recent statewide research suggests most Georgians are still not prepared to survive on their own for the first 72 hours following a disaster, even four years after the catastrophic fallout of Hurricane Katrina.
That’s why Cookerly and GEMA reached out to public officials including Governor Perdue, local corporations like The Home Depot and Emergency Management Agency directors throughout the state to combine efforts to get the word out about how Georgians can be better prepared for the unexpected. In addition, notable Georgians were asked to provide a personal testimonial on the Ready Georgia Web site to inspire others to prepare and local groups were tapped to include Ready Georgia at events and speaking engagements. Through these partnerships, the message was customized for residents of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds and living situations.
That deep connection within the community compels Ready Georgia’s various audiences to consider their specific needs and take action. By reaching out to and leveraging an existing community network of interested parties, campaigns can stretch their dollars, but more importantly, create a call to action that is customized and intensely local.