National Legacy Outreach Campaign

Legacy provides an example of how Outreach Extensions utilizes its campaign development process to design a customized campaign.

Campaign Management

Strategic Planning Phase

Identify / Prioritize Core Themes / Issues
Issues linked to stories of individual Collins family members:

  • Dorothy – faith, public housing, homeownership, intergenerational issues
  • Nickcole – economic literacy, stay in school, youth development, marriage
  • Wanda – substance abuse recovery, faith, family reunification
  • Alaissa – job training, self–sufficiency, GED
  • Jack – substance abuse, grief counseling additional – public housing, welfare, community support structures

Orient Producer; Determine Assets and Priorities
Explained how outreach uses a documentary as a springboard for solution–based community action. Identified Legacy assets: project advisors, prospective foundation support for outreach, availability of the producer and members of the Collins family for events, logo.

Assess Outreach Capacity and / or Parameters of Network & Department(s) Responsible As Liaison(s) to the Campaign
The Legacy documentary will be broadcast on HBO, with the government relations department responsible for interfacing with Outreach Extensions. An examination of the infrastructure of local cable affiliates raised concerns about their capacity to support outreach and mobilize community involvement –– a primary mission of the campaign. Missing elements included an advisory board structure, outreach staff, community partnerships, convener role and extent / availability of resources (Web, print, events, new media) to the campaign.

Brainstorm Innovative Outreach Components

  • As an HBO production, Legacy required different strategies from those developed for public television productions where stations have an established outreach infrastructure.
  • An important tool useful to PBS stations, however, could be adapted as a centerpiece component for Legacy: a community action toolbox. One created by Outreach Extensions for Take This Heart could effectively serve as a model.
  • It was determined that the Toolbox needed to emphasize community action strategies and tools related to content on all of the key issues. This would support self–initiated efforts by community organizations (rather than cable affiliates) which would then carry the campaign without the benefit of local station leadership and resources inherent in PBS campaigns.
  • Having a faith–based component was deemed to be important from the beginning, based on the link to the Collins family issues and on the strong role of churches in African–American communities.

Recruit Community Partners: Evaluate Assets and Determine Applicability of their Model Projects, If Any
Identified partners which had access to key audiences; identified audience needs and partner resources: The Interdenominational Theological Center / national reach to 70,000 churches; Generations United / intergenerational issues, interest in reaching policy makers; Center for Community Change / community organizing, housing, demonstration (model) projects including Public Housing Graduates Initiative; Los Angeles Women’s Foundation / economic literacy program for girls; Boys & Girls Clubs of America / clubs in public housing projects, youth development programs; and United Way of America / community organizing.

Ascertain Community Needs and Service Gaps.
Discussions with stakeholders (community partners, funders, producer, advisors) led to the identification of priority issues and service gaps. Identified urban poverty as the umbrella issue, and decided to use an asset–based community development model in presenting solutions. Outlined viable solution–based steps for key issues.

Define Campaign Objectives
Legacy project objectives include the following:

  • To develop tools and resources to advance community utilization of the film and its outreach materials/activities with key target audiences; and to offer self–help strategies to support long–term sustainability within families and communities.
  • To use the documentary and outreach resources as a means to engage community–based organizations, public housing residents, the faith community, cable television affiliates and prospective public television stations in raising awareness of the challenging issues confronting children and families in our poorest and most distressed neighborhoods and communities in America.
  • To stimulate dialogue and inform public policy initiatives which present an integrated perspective on the complex issues inherent in poverty and distressed neighborhoods, yet which allow targeted “calls to action.”
  • To build upon local strengths and support coalition building and cooperative activities among community–based organizations, neighborhood associations and the faith community to mobilize resources and support programs that will strengthen the capacity of youth and families at risk to improve their lives.
  • To convey realistic messages: that the cycle of poverty can be broken; that internal and external life changes can occur; that despite high risk factors, families can be strong, resilient and connect to community support structures and resources that are available to create impetus for individual and social action.
  • To increase public awareness of, and build interest in, the Legacy documentary and outreach campaign as a means to introduce practical interventions to advance the development of healthy individuals, strong families and effective communities.

Identify Key Audiences
Based on the issues associated with diverse Collins family members, and the reach of the community partners, identified audiences included residents of public housing, grandparents raising their grandchildren, African–American congregations, policy makers, people of color, high risk youth, girls, intergenerational service organizations, workforce organizations, families living in poverty, families dealing with substance abuse, families affected by violence and families in life–changing transitions.

Develop Pathways to Reach Key Audiences
Determined distribution routes directly through partners, e.g., ITC sending brochures to churches, as well as through organizations associated with partners, e.g., Brookdale Foundation sending information to intergenerational service providers in cooperation with Generations United.

Seek Multiple Pathways and Methodologies to Reach the Same Key Audience
Girls were viewed as an important audience, since they could learn from Nickcole and benefit from early intervention strategies. Both LAWF/CERG and the Boys and Girls Clubs provided access to teenage girls.

Collaborate With Partners to Define Components
Discussions with ITC led to the development of the faith–based component: Toolbox materials including a faith–based discussion guide and examples of model community projects. Because the potential distribution to 70,000 churches was too costly for the campaign’s budget, it was decided to develop an information brochure and send it to 20,000 churches which could then request the faith–based section of the Toolbox and Legacy of Faith videotape. A focus group convened by ITC advised the producer and outreach campaign on appropriate content for the videotape. ITC also agreed to attend conferences on behalf of the campaign to provide training on the Legacy materials, including Neighborhood Reinvestment workshops. Similarly, all partners defined the components they would lead.

Reach Agreements with Partners on Roles & Responsibilities; Define Expectations
Responsibilities (see page __) included specific tasks for all phases of the campaign: strategic planning, implementation and evaluation.

Finalize Outreach Strategy for HBO
Lack of outreach infrastructure at cable affiliates (staff, community relations) led to greater empowerment of community partners in conducting community activities. Three discussion and / or viewer’s guides were developed to accommodate different partners and target audiences. Additional affiliate relationships (United Way, Association of Black Psychologists, Brookdale Foundation) were required to expand audience reach. The campaign created more coalition building models.

Establish Campaign Management Infrastructure
The outreach campaign infrastructure supports interactions with the partners as the primary community implementors. Affiliate partners, such as United Way, have been brought into the campaign to create specific materials and / or assist in reaching specific audiences. Finally, a third tier of partners, such as KPBS / San Diego, are being incorporated into the campaign to develop model coalition–building prototypes that can be utilized in other communities.

Assemble Campaign Advisory Council
The community partners function as the advisory committee for the full campaign. Additionally, each partner convenes advisors as needed for its participation in the campaign, such as the joint decision making by members of LAWF’s CERG group. The funders also act as advisors, especially in drawing upon their expertise related to community building and in gaining access to resources.

Write & Customize Proposals
Customized proposals sent to The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and others (ongoing).

Implementation Phase

Finalize Campaign Components and Budgets; Continue Fundraising as Needed
Once funding has been secured, components are finalized based upon campaign priorities, partner assets and budget constraints. The complexity of the Legacy outreach campaign, including the number of issues and partners, and the need for linkages to other initiatives, made it imperative that Outreach Extensions continue to seek funding to cover all campaign components. This process is ongoing.

Maintain Communications With Stakeholders
Regular telephone conversations; gain buy–in for campaign progress; monthly reports.

Design & Produce Innovative / Customized Campaign Tools & Materials
Customized materials developed in cooperation with community partners include: Legacy Community Action Toolbox, Legacy of Faith videotape, Legacy of Community Action videotape, Legacy Web site, brochure for the faith community, and individualized letters.

Conduct Component Activities as Scheduled; Provide Technical Assistance and Follow–up
Communication is maintained with all partners to assure that component activities are completed as planned. Where local agencies have autonomy, e.g., Boys & Girls Clubs and United Way, follow–up and technical assistance are provided to support their local efforts.

Strategize with Partners on How to Utilize Their Strengths to Maximize Their Involvement with a Media Campaign and Seize New Opportunities
Identified as one of the most adept partners in the policy arena, Generations United was encouraged to seek out opportunities to reach policy makers, such as the Congressional Children’s Caucus.

Interconnect Partner Activities
Where possible, partners are encouraged to work together to share resources. An indirect example for Legacy is the use of the housing materials and economic literacy materials in the Toolbox that will be used by United Way in their leadership training.

Capitalize on Unforseen Opportunities
Bingwa Urban Education Conference; Sundance Film Festival; Philadelphia Film Festival, with its emphasis on human rights, wants to develop community outreach using the Legacy materials; San Francisco International Film Festival (Legacy documentary received a Certificate of Merit for the Golden State Award) wants to do outreach in the Bay area.

Distribute Customized Materials
Special mailings are being prepared by all of the partners. For example, the Los Angeles Women’s Foundation is sending Toolboxes to 100 women’s organizations / foundations across America. Other mailings are going to school superintendents, parochial schools, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, selected mayors and governors.

Provide Orientation to Collins Family Members
Involving the Collins family in the campaign is viewed as an asset. Nickcole, in particular, has been interested in telling the family’s story. Outreach Extensions supports her through managing logistics, providing briefings, offering guidance and paying stipends for her appearances, e.g., ITC events, CERG conference, San Francisco Film Festival.

Incorporate New Alliances
As new needs are identified, Outreach Extensions incorporates additional affiliate organizations to support the campaign, such as the Urban Libraries Council. Imoyase, which has been hired to conduct the evaluation, recommended that a member of the Association of Black Psychologists write the Viewer’s Guide for Legacy.

Build Model Prototypes
Established relationship with KPBS / San Diego since it is part of the 22–city initiative; in the process of creating a model for PBS station outreach for Legacy.

Maintain project oversight and prepare reports
Reports are prepared on a monthly basis for funders, the producer and HBO.

Establish / Maintain Network Relationship
Outreach Extensions works with HBO on an ongoing basis to strengthen the position of outreach and to gain their buy–in to support the campaign.

Establish / Maintain Relationship with Cable Affiliates (HBO) or Stations (PBS)
Work with HBO to develop strategies to reach local cable affiliates and design local campaign visibility and activities.

Coordinate Outreach with Promotion and Advertising (if budget available)
It is anticipated that HBO will invest in promotion and advertising to support the broadcast of Legacy – anticipated to be Fall 2000. When this occurs, Outreach Extensions will create tie–ins to the outreach campaign.

Coordinate Outreach with Educational Distributor
Develop a relationship with the educational distributor; identify areas where can work cooperatively with outreach in approaching schools. The Legacy campaign will send a joint letter to superintendents of schools informing them about the documentary and the campaign’s materials for youth development.

Assist with Outreach at Selected Film Festivals
Outreach Extensions has partnered with film festivals to raise awareness of the outreach campaign and demonstrate how media can be used as an advocacy resource: International Documentary Association, San Francisco Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival / Human Rights Watch.

Identify and Analyze Outcomes Throughout Implementation Phases
Involvement in an outreach media campaign can produce unexpected outcomes for nonprofit organizations. The Los Angeles Women’s Foundation, for example, used its economic literacy section of the Toolbox as a prototype to secure support from its own funders to develop and produce a CERG Money Box curriculum. Completion is scheduled for Fall, 2000.

Evaluation Phase

Analyze and Report on Outreach and Partnership Processes
The work of Outreach Extensions in exploring the planning, implementation and evaluation processes of its partners (as well as of itself) results in advanced outreach methodologies, which inform the profession and add value to subsequent campaigns. This information is also helpful to funders interested in documenting project practices and outcomes.

Develop Instrument for and Evaluate Minigrants
Evaluation will be conducted on the minigrants awarded to community and faith–based organizations participating in the Legacy campaign. The impact on individual participants and the group as a whole will be documented.

Contract with Project Evaluator
Evaluation: Applied Research and Consulting (ARC) in New York City will conduct a research study that will evaluate the effectiveness of the Legacy campaign.

Create Synergy
Outreach Extensions applies the lessons it has learned to new projects, maintains communications with key stakeholders and builds bridges to other campaigns – such as using a partner in more than one campaign, or using the community infrastructure built by a previous campaign.