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Case Study Update: Family Promise GR Receives Toyota Truck

October 27, 2012 Leave a comment
Family Promise GR Receives Toyota Truck

Family Promise Director Cheryl Schuch, right, accepted a ceremonial key for the program’s new pickup truck at Toyota of Grand Rapids Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Michael Croff)

I was fortunate to work with a great team of people who helped Family Promise of Grand Rapids win Toyota’s “100 Cars for Good” competition this year (a full case study is available here).  Yesterday, the organization took receipt of the car which was another great public relations opportunity from the competition (which has given the organization a great platform to reach more members of the community).

West Michigan charity takes delivery of Toyota truck it won through Facebook contest
By Jim Harger | Grand Rapids Press | on October 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Family Promise of Grand Rapids took delivery of its new Toyota Tundra pickup this week thanks to its success in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good competition earlier this year. (More)

Case Study: Family Promise of Grand Rapids “Toyota 100 Cars for Good” Social Media Campaign Results

August 3, 2012 1 comment

familypromisewin
votefpgr

Thanks to the generosity and tech-savvy of West Michigan as well as the hard work of volunteers, Family Promise of Grand Rapids won a Toyota truck by pulling in the most support in the 2012 Toyota 100 Cars for Good contest.  This is the second win for a GR-based nonprofit in as many years.  Clearly this city has something going for it (take that Newsweek).

Thanks to everyone who helped!

Big kudos go to the core group of volunteers that helped make this win possible:

Rick Jensen, Terri Howe, Christine Hoek, Allison Root, Adrienne Wallace, Abby TaylorPete Brand, Amanda BrandKaitlin Brand, Angie Phillips, 834 Design and MarketingWondergem Consulting, Clark Communications and the WMPRSA Board.

It’s also worth noting that everyone was led by Cheryl Schuch – the Executive Director of FPGR who is a model for all leaders to learn from.  She’s truly invested in her organization and was closely-involved every step of the way.

Rick and Terri worked on the campaign on behalf of the West Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (of which all three of us are board members – FPGR is WMPRSA’s current nonprofit client that we provide with two years of pro bono counsel as part of our PRforGOOD project).

The Strategy

Having helped Kids’ Food Basket come up with a winning strategy last year, Adrienne Wallace and I shared what we learned with the FPGR team (the case study for KFB is available here).  Here’s what we came up with: Read more…

Case Study: Kids’ Food Basket “Toyota 100 Cars for Good” Social Media Campaign Results

August 24, 2011 1 comment

Andrew Zimmern Retweets Adrienne Wallace's Appeal for KFB

As promised, here is the analysis of the social media campaign used to help win Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Kids’ Food Basket a much-needed delivery truck from Toyota’s “100 Cars for Good” campaign.

To show all the public relations majors out there that “Management by Objective” isn’t just an esoteric concept you memorize in a PR 200 class and subsequently forget, I’ve framed the analysis of the campaign in terms of the “RACE” acronym (Research, Action, Communication, Evaluation). Read more…

For my Next Trick I Will Win a Truck Using Only the Power of Social Media

August 5, 2011 2 comments

Screen Shot of the 100 Cars for Good Voting Results Late in the Day

[Warning: the title of this blog post is entirely facetious.]

Kids Food Basket

One of my favorite charities in West Michigan, Kids Food Basket, may just have won a much-needed delivery truck to replace the one from their meager delivery fleet that died (the results aren’t in yet, but they were leading the vote count all day).  Many thanks go to Toyota which created the “100 Cars for Good” contest to not only give a bunch of highly-deserving nonprofits a chance to win a vehicle, but also raise their profile both locally and nationally.

Kudos to Toyota for putting together a first-rate publicity package for the entrants.  As most in the public relations world are aware, nonprofits are often at a significant disadvantage when it comes to promoting themselves because they’re not only challenged with resources, but staff time as well.

Toyota 100 Cars for GoodIt’s tempting to chalk up the success to the ethereal “power of social media” but in reality, it played a far smaller role than it appears on the surface.  Here’s what really was at play:

  1. A Great Product: it’s no accident that Kids Food Basket has exploded in popularity in West Michigan in the past few years – it’s a great organization with a great staff and noble aims.  The great outreach the organization has done to grow itself to the point where it now serves 5,000 students per day when school is in session is the single most important factor that made the promotional campaign for the “100 cars for good” campaign successful.
  2. A Great Community: I’m certainly not the first person to remark on the generosity that exists in West Michigan from the Kalamazoo Promise up to the gleaming buildings on Health Hill in downtown Grand Rapids.  Social media serves only as a convenient conduit to people who would drop what they’re doing to help virtually any good cause if asked even if it wasn’t via a Tweet.
  3. Great People: Like so many nonprofits, the staff of Kids Food Basket is packed with exemplary human beings who commit themselves totally to the cause.  They work long hours for meager pay because they love what they do and who they serve.  People like that are the best any institution can hope for, because they’re the kind of people who have deep and durable networks in the community which are exactly what you need to leverage for communications efforts like this.  Here’s why these people are so critical:
    1. They give enough regularly to be able to ask: You can’t ask for anything via social media unless you’ve given something to the people you’re asking.  In fact, the standard level of distrust means you have to give a whole lot to earn the right to ask.
    2. They’re established (and thusly believable): You can’t post this many requests for anything unless you’re well-established online as someone who is credible.  You’ll quickly be labeled a spammer.  Surprisingly, it’s pretty easy and fast to detect and ignore the fakers – remember, even computer algorithms can detect them.
    3. They’re willing to do the work (which also builds credibility): what this essentially means is that they use as few shortcuts as possible to get things done.  That means making as many individual, personalized messages as humanly-possible.  As we all know, people are far more likely to take action when asked to do so one-on-one.  Social media just lets you engage in that tried-and-true activity more quickly and without geographic barriers.

All of those pieces have to be in place for any social media campaign to work.  Those are the facts.  Anyone who promises you success regardless of your people and your product is lying to you.  No viral video, no search engine optimization, no iPad app, and no amount of bought followers can shine a turd.

Unfortunately there are plenty of Fauxcial Media experts ready and willing to do that – so caveat emptor.

If you want to know the details of precisely what plan we followed – I’ll detail those in a subsequent blog post.  As with any practical exercise in public relations, I gained a lot of valuable insights.