VCMF to leverage dedication to build support for museum

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VCMF) has worked since 1993 to create a memorial in Washington for the millions of people killed in the former Soviet Union and other communist countries of the 20th century.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VCMF) has worked since 1993 to create a memorial in Washington for the millions of people killed in the former Soviet Union and other communist countries of the 20th century.

Along with honoring victims of communism, the memorial's recent dedication helps promote the planned launch of an online museum in 2008 and, the group hopes, a brick-and-mortar museum at some later date.

Idea: Speakers at the dedication included Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), co-sponsor of the bill authorizing the memorial; Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; and President George W. Bush. The event drew more than 500 attendees, as well as international and domestic press.

Tools: "You have to be careful every time the President comes to an event because he's a magnet for the press; at the same time, you don't want to dilute the message," said Stephen Manfredi, Shirley & Bannister SAE. So, media outreach focused on pre-event communications with both general interest outlets and conservative publications. Several events on the same day also helped promote the VCMF, including a roundtable discussion at The Heritage Foundation and an awards dinner featuring the widow of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.

Measurement: "The event is a success given the coverage we've lined up," said Manfredi. Longer term, the dedication's benchmarks will be determined by contributions to fundraising efforts for the estimated $50 million needed for the planned museum.

Organization:  Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
Campaign:  Dedication of Victims of Communism Memorial
PR team:  Shirley & Bannister Public Affairs
Other marketing:  Web site
Launch:  June 12
Budget:  Undisclosed

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