You are on page 1of 19

JOHNSTOWN BACKPACK PROJECT

Allison Faett

Background:
According to the national hunger relief organization, Feeding America, there are 6,290 children living in Cambria County who do not have enough to eat. More than three out of four children in the Greater Johnstown School District receive free and reduced lunch at school, and one in five children in Johnstown do not know where their next meal is coming from. In March of 2013 the Johnstown Backpack Project was created in order to help end childhood hunger in Cambria County. Its desired mission and purpose is to reduce child hunger over the weekends when kids do not have access to meals at school. They provide backpacks full of ready-to-eat meals to over 100 children every weekend during the school year. The Johnstown Backpack Project has already hosted a special event that was a success. Last summer they held a fundraiser called Food-Raiser. This event generated over 3,000 units of food. The lead volunteer group for the Johnstown Backpack Project is the Lady Dirtbags, a young girls softball team. With the help from this team and other groups, the Project is not struggling with volunteer help, but with food and money donations. The Johnstown Backpack Project is unique because it is part of a collaboration. Participating organizations include: Alternative Community Resource Program (ACRP) Beginnings Inc. CEM (Changing Expectations Mission): Johnstown Christ Centered Community Church The Learning Lamp Trojan Learning Center Elementary School Program at the Greater Johnstown School District

During my research I came across The Mountain Lion Backpack Program in Altoona, PA, which provides the same assistance to low-income children in their community. It began in October of 2011 making it two years older than the Johnstown Backpack Project. They feed more than 230 children each weekend. The organization seems to be more persistent with their Facebook page because
1

they post multiple times a day. Also, the page currently has 460 likes, which is more than double the likes on the Johnstown Backpack Projects page, however they have been around longer than JBP. Not only does the Mountain Lion Backpack Programs Facebook have hundreds of photos, but they also have additional links on their page. The first link provides additional information about the program, and the second link provides a place where people can donate money online. Similar to the Johnstown Backpack Project, the Mountain Lion Backpack Program does not have a Twitter, Instagram, or actual website of their own. While researching I also found several articles about the program on popular websites such as, We Are Central PA, the Altoona Mirror, and Mountain Echo. Lastly, there is a short segment about the program on the front page of the Altoona Area High School website. The Mountain Lion Backpack Program so far has done a good job informing the public about their cause, but they could also use some help promoting themselves. If the Johnstown Backpack Project correctly executes their Public Relations plan, they have the chance to become just as well-known as the Altoona program.

Situation:
The main purpose of the organization is to end childhood hunger in the Cambria area, which many people feel passionate about. The cause reaches to a lot of people because no one wants to see a hungry child; especially if the child is a part of their own community. Receiving compassion from the public is not hard, however the general public has not been well-informed of the Project making it difficult to spread the word and receive donations. The two primary issues that they are currently struggling with are: 1. Reaching out to the general public to receive donations (primarily money donations) 2. Spreading the word and informing the public about the Project Creating social media accounts will help in fixing both of these situations, and the Johnstown Backpack Project is already one step ahead. They already have a
2

Facebook and has done a good job informing Facebook users about the organization. Becoming a member of other social medias gives JBP the ability to better reach their audience. By creating a Public Relations plan for the Johnstown Backpack Project, they will be more inclined to accomplish all of their goals, correct their problems, and become a better organization.

Audience:
The audience that JBP is trying to reach overall is anyone living in the Johnstown community. The more people who know about the organization, the better. The audience is very broad because one of their situations is that not enough people are aware of it; therefore targeting the general public in a variety of ways will help improve informing the community. Since the other situation is that the organization lacks donations, they will also specifically target: General public Churches Funders (foundations or potential donors) Local schools

The Johnstown Backpack Project will use a variety of different methods in order to reach all of the people they are trying to connect with. These methods include: 1. Social media a. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram 2. Web presence 3. Traditional media a. Television, newspapers, radio (PSAs) 4. Printed materials a. Brochures, flyers, news releases 5. Special events

Objectives:
After discussing and analyzing the organization, objectives were created for the Public Relations plan to make sure that the Johnstown Backpack Projects current situation is properly and effectively fixed. These objectives will be fulfilled after the Public Relations plan has been entirely thought out and performed. The objectives are both informational and motivational: 1. To spread the word and increase awareness about the Project Create other social media sites besides Facebook Have the public become more involved (volunteering and donations) 2. To get 125 more likes on the Facebook page by September 2014 Be more persistent with the page and keep it up-to-date 3. To receive more money and food donations by the next upcoming school year Primarily money donations

Strategy:
The Johnstown Backpack Projects overall statement that describes how the organization is going to reach its objectives is:

THE JOHNSTOWN BACKPACK PROJECT HELPS END CHILDHOOD HUNGER AND SO CAN YOU!
To successfully live up to this statement, I reviewed the Public Relations plans objectives and came up with some strategic ideas in order to accomplish them. 1. Social media a. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram i. These social media sites will be beneficial because they have become extremely popular within the past few years ii. Each social media account will target different age groups, and this will help inform more people and spread the word faster 2. Web presence 3. Traditional media
4

4. Printed materials 5. Special events The time period for accomplishing these objectives is from March 2014 to December 2014

Tactics:
The tactics of a Public Relations plan are essential and determine whether or not the plan will be successful. These tactics show how the Johnstown Backpack Project will execute the plan, and as a result the objectives will be achieved. SOCIAL MEDIAthe person managing these accounts will be Emily Wentworth (Marketing Coordinator) or any other person Ms. Wentworth feels suitable for the job. 1. FacebookThe Johnstown Backpack Project has already created a Facebook and has done a good job informing Facebook users about the organization. Although the page is off to a good start, it can still use some attention because it currently only has 216 likes. Informing people about the organization and connecting with users will eventually allow the page to get more likes and become more popular. A few suggestions to improve the Facebook page are: Posting on the page at least twice every week and every time after an event The Johnstown Backpack Project is hosting a Food Fight in order to raise money for low-income children! Local schools will compete against one another and the winner will win fun prizes! The Johnstown Backpack Project helps end childhood hunger in Cambria County. You can help too! Thank you Lady Dirtbags for helping us pack backpacks! Occasionally sending invites to users in the Johnstown area Posting more pictures of the volunteers, backpacks, and food donations
5

2. TwitterThe Johnstown Backpack Project currently does not have a Twitter account. This social media site has become increasingly popular; therefore creating one for the organization will be very beneficial. Twitter has more of a younger audience, which will help target younger people in the Johnstown community. Post on the page at least four times a week since Twitter posts are short You can help end childhood hunger! Donate today! The Johnstown Backpack Project hopes you have a fun and safe 4th of July! Good luck at your game today, Lady Dirtbags! Thanks for all of your help! Post announcements and upcoming events that are being held Come join the Johnstown Backpack Project at UPJ on April 7th, 2014 at 6:00PM to help fight childhood hunger and win cool prizes! Announce the school who is in the lead or the winner of the Food Fight Posts informing people on how and where to donate food and money End childhood hunger in your community. Donate today! 2025 Bedford St. Johnstown, PA 15904 or (814) 262-0732) Use the hashtags #JohnstownBackpackProject and #JBP on Tweets to promote the organization and expand the publics awareness 3. InstagramThe Johnstown Backpack Project currently does not have an Instagram account. This fairly new media site is very popular among young adults and teens. The main volunteer group for the organization is a softball team that consists of teenage girls who most likely have Instagram accounts; therefore this is helpful because they can generate interest in the account, as well as post pictures that they take on it. At least one picture should be posted every week or every time an event happens
6

Upload short videos of volunteers packing backpacks with food and events that take place Use the hashtags #JohnstownBackpackProject and #JBP every time a picture or video is posted to promote the organization and expand the publics awareness WEB PRESENCE 1. Web 1.0There is currently no website available for the Johnstown Backpack Project. It is a collaborative nonprofit organization, however with the use of an actual website dedicated to only this project will help spread the word and get the community more involved. Also, this will be beneficial because some people may not have any social media accounts of their own. The website would contain: Pictures of the volunteers showing what they do to help the organization Background information about the organization A calendar that shows upcoming events for each month News releases and media advisories Links to their other social media pages A section where people visiting the website can donate money

TRADITIONAL MEDIAThis type of media is effective because of how popular it is to the general public. 1. TV Although it may be expensive, creating a television commercial will immensely help the promotion of the Johnstown Backpack Project. It will begin with an attention-grabber such as, According to the national hunger relief organization, Feeding America, there are 6,290 children living in Cambria County who do not get enough to eat. Then, it will talk about the organization and what it does while showing clips of volunteers packing backpacks with food It will air at least once a day during the week and in the evenings (5:00PM-8:00PM)
7

It will air on PBS, the CW, and NBC 2. NewspapersIncorporating announcements and advertisements in newspapers will help target older individuals in the community. Announcements and advertisements will be published in The Tribune Democrat because it is a well-known paper in the Johnstown area Another newspaper in the Johnstown area that will be beneficial to be published in is Our Town Johnstown Posting announcements and advertisements in other neighboring areas papers is a great way to inform people outside of the community Altoona Mirror Bedford Gazette 3. Radio-PSAAnnouncing PSAs on the radio will help spread the word and inform the public about the organization. They will be aired on the weekdays in the mornings and evenings during peoples commutes to and from work 7:00 AM-9:00 AM and 4:00 PM-6:00 PM The radio station that it will air on is WKYE (96.5) They will be about upcoming events, announcements, and general information about the organization

JOHNSTOWN BACKPACK PROJECT PSA SCRIPT: 30 SECONDS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 25, 2014 Emily Wentworth (814) 262-0732 ewentworth@thelearninglamp.org

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT 30 SECONDS

JOHNSTOWN BACKPACK PROJECT FOOD FIGHT

KILL DATE: JUNE 10, 2014

ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL HUNGER RELIEF ORGANIZATION, FEEDING AMERICA, THERE ARE 6,290 FOOD INSECURE CHILDREN LIVING IN CAMBRIA COUNTY. THE JOHNSTOWN BACKPACK PROJECT WILL BE HOLDING A FOOD FUNDRAISER THAT WILL TAKE PLACE AT LOCAL SCHOOLS IN THE JOHNSTOWN AREA, WHICH WILL BENEFIT LOW-INCOME CHILDREN. EACH SCHOOL WILL COMPETE AGAINST EACH OTHER TO SEE WHO RAISES THE MOST FOOD. THE FOOD FIGHT WILL BEGIN IN THE UPCOMING MONTHS. THE SPECIFIC DATES ARE NOT SET YET. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS PLEACE CONTRACT EMILY WENTWORTH AT (814) 262-0737 OR EMAIL HER AT EWENTWORTH@THELEARNINGLAMP.ORG.

###
9

Tactics (cont.):
PRINTED MATERIALSCurrently, the Johnstown Backpack Project does not do much with advertising. For this plan, I believe it will be beneficial for them to advertise more around the Johnstown area. 1. BrochureCreating a brochure will not only effectively spread the word of the organization, but it will also inform the public about its background information and the work it does. These will be provided at local spots in Johnstown Restaurants Supermarkets Churches Schools Pictures and bright colors will be used throughout it so that it grabs peoples attention and makes them want to pick it up and read 2. FlyersPosting flyers around the Johnstown area will inform the public about the organization, announcements, and upcoming events that they are hosting. These will also be posted at local spots in Johnstown Restaurants Supermarkets Churches Schools Pictures and bright colors will be used so that it is appealing to the eye and makes people want to see what it is about 3. News ReleasesA news release delivers noteworthy information about an organization to the media. It is important to periodically publish news releases so that the public understands what kind of work is being done within the organization. The typical audience for these are journalists; therefore if they do not find it significant then they will not follow-up on it causing it to fail.
10

They must have a catchy subject line in order to catch the audiences attention Join Us For A Food Fight! They will be delivered to journalists in the Johnstown area The Tribune Democrat Johnstown Magazine Our Town Johnstown They will be delivered to neighboring areas in order to inform others who do not live in the Johnstown area Altoona Mirror Bedford Gazette They will be delivered via email Emails will include links to supporting items such as websites and pictures They will be about announcements and feature stories The Food Fight The UPJ Food Fundraiser The winners of the Food Fight They will be distributed in a number of ways Newspaperssend it a week to 10 days prior to an event Magazinessend it a few months ahead of time Local distribution There will be a follow-up to each email making sure it was received SPECIAL EVENTSSpecial events are a great way to get the community involved. The Johnstown Backpack Project is currently struggling with reaching out to the general public for donations and spreading the word about the organization; therefore hosting as many events as possible will help effectively fix these issues. 1. Food FightThis is a food fundraiser that the Johnstown Backpack Project is currently working on. It will take place at local schools in the Johnstown area. Each school will compete against each other to see who raises the most food. The specific dates have not been set yet, however it will begin in the next upcoming months. 2. The Johnstown Backpack Projects FundraiserThe University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown will host a fundraiser on April 7, 2014 at 6:00PM in
11

the student union. This event will not only help raise food and money for the organization, but it will also inform the students and faculty about the cause. There will be food and beverages available for guests, as well as small prizes that can be won. 3. Fun in the Sun FundraiserHosting an event during a month in the summer will draw a large amount of people in the community. The event will offer games, raffles, and carnival food. The proceeds will go to the Johnstown Backpack Project in hopes of generating lots of money and food for the low-income children. As of now, Fun in the Sun Fundraiser will take place on August 23, 2014, but may have to be rescheduled. Attendees will be asked to write down their email addresses and/or phone numbers so that the organization can send them surveys about each event Each survey will ask what they liked and disliked about the event in hopes of making it better the next time around Although there are only three special events posted above, others will be executed throughout the year. The Public Relations plan is subject to change depending on other issues that may arise; therefore it will be more realistic to wait and see what the rest of the year has to come before planning months in ahead.

12

Timetable:
Creating a timetable is a great way to keep track of everything that is occurring throughout the Public Relations plan. Without using a timetable, the plan can become unorganized and result in not meeting deadlines. The schedule below is tentative and may be altered due to conflicts that may arise.

Month (2014)

Whats Going On
Manage social media (all of March) Create an Instagram and Twitter (16-22) Distribute Brochures (16-22) Distribute UPJ special event flyers (23-29) Create and distribute a news release about UPJ special event (23-29) Finalize UPJ special event (30-April 5) Follow-up on news release (30-April 5) Manage social media (all of April) Find web designer (6-12) Host UPJ special event (April 7 at 6:00PM) Create and distribute surveys about UPJ special event (13-19) Follow-up on the distributions of brochures (20-26) Begin brainstorming for a PSA (27-May 3) Manage social media (all of May) Hire web designer (4-10) Create PSA (11-17) Continue working on website (18-31) Manage social media (all of June) Begin brainstorming for a new special event (1-14) Air PSA (15-21 and the rest of June) Finish website (22-28) Manage social media (all of July) Air PSA (all of July) Set a date for the Fun in the Sun event and begin preparing (June 295) Begin researching commercial costs (6-19) If commercial costs are in the budget begin brainstorming ideas (20-26) Develop and distribute flyers for the Fun in the Sun event (27- August 2)

March

April

May

June

July

13

August

Manage social media (all of August) Air PSA (all of August) Create and distribute a news release for the Fun in the Sun event (39) Follow-up on news release (10-16) Finalize Fun in the Sun event (17-22) Host Fun in the Sun event (August 23subject to change) Create and distribute surveys about Fun in the Sun event (24-30) Manage social media (all of September) Air PSA (all of September) Update website (August 31-6) Finish commercial (7-20) Film commercial (21-October 4) Manage social media (all of October) Update website (5-11) Begin brainstorming for a new PSA (12-18) Create and distribute a survey about the commercial (19-25) Create a new PSA (26-November 1) Manage social media (all of November) Create and distribute a news release about the commercial (2-8) Follow-up on news release (9-15) Begin brainstorming for another special event (16-22) Air PSA (23-30) Manage social media (all of December) Air PSA (all of December) Plan and set a date for the next upcoming special event (1-20) Create and distribute a happy holidays flier (21-27 Update website (28-January 3)

September

October

November

December

14

Budget:
The budget for the Public Relations plan is somewhat expensive, but well worth it. If the organization would like to create a commercial it might be more costly, however it will benefit in the end. Another thing that may be expensive is hiring a web designer, but that will also be effective in informing the public and spreading the word about the cause. Although the organization will have to put money towards these Public Relations techniques, the outcome will be positive and help to accomplish the plans objectives.

Part of Plan
UPJ Food Fundraiser

Costs
Food & Beverages- $125 Prizes- $0 (Organizations at UPJ will help raise money) Flyers- $10 Supplies- $30 Food & Beverages- $200 (business may donate food) Games & prizes- $300 Flyers- $10 Supplies- $100

Total Costs
$165

Fun in the Sun Fundraiser

$610
(Depends on if businesses will donate stuff for the event)

Web Designer

Around $200

Around $200

PSA

$0

$0

Twitter

$0

$0

Instagram

$0

$0

15

Facebook

$0

$0

Brochures

$25

$25

Flyers

$10

$10

Commercial Other Special Events

$200-$1000 $100-$300

TBD TBD

16

Measurements:
Both qualitative and quantitative measurements will be beneficial in determining the results. I used both measurements, but mainly quantitative measurements. 1. Qualitative a. Contact the volunteers and employees and ask how they think the Johnstown Backpack Project is doing since implementing the Public Relations plan i. What do you believe the organizations current strengths and weaknesses are? 2. Quantitative a. Were the survey results for the special events beneficial in helping better implement the plan? b. Has the Facebook page received 125 likes or more since the start of the plan? c. How many followers does the Twitter and Instagram accounts have? d. Have the hashtags #JohnstownBackpackProject and #JBP become more popular on social media? i. You will be able to read all of the posts that are not private that included either of these hashtags just by clicking them e. Have more people contacted the organization in regards to volunteering? f. Has the money and food donations increased since March 2014? g. Has the website generated a larger audience? i. Conduct a survey in regards to the new website h. Are people in Johnstown taking advantage of the brochures and flyers? i. Contact the places where they were being distributed and see how many are left i. The number of press releases j. The number of media impressions

17

Evaluation:
After going back and reviewing the objectives, I believe that the Johnstown Backpack Project will successfully be able to accomplish this plan with hard work and dedication. Although the budget is a bit pricey, it will immensely help the organization and result in a positive outcome. If the Johnstown Backpack Project decides to implement some of these tactics, I will be excited to see all of the improvements in the organization.

18