Charity auction celebrates public school success stories

GolinHarris helped promote The Education Fund's auction to raise support for Miami-Dade County public schools.

Client: The Education Fund (Miami, FL)
Agency: GolinHarris (Miami, FL)
Campaign: 25th Anniversary Celebration and Charity Auction
Duration: April 15 – June 15

The Education Fund is a non-profit that raises money and other support for Miami-Dade County public schools. President Linda Lecht explains that one of its programs, Ocean Bank Center for Educational Materials, provides free supplies of donated excess inventory to more than 1,000 teachers per year. Materials include everything imaginable – from milk jugs to plastic used in lounge chairs – and art teachers often use them for student art projects.

“We started The Art of Found Objects Charity Auction 14 years ago because people wanted to buy the art,” Lecht says. “Schools get the money for what they sell. Ticket sales support the cost of running the Ocean Bank Center.”

GolinHarris (GH), which had done pro bono work for The Education Fund on two previous occasions, helped promote this year's May 20 auction.

Lecht notes the agency's support was leveraged to win a $10,000 grant from The Children's Trust to cover printing and help from an intern.

Strategy
Broadening media and social media outreach increased awareness.

The team honored 25 local influencers who graduated from public schools. Honorees work in various sectors, including politics, art, media, and medicine. Agency SVP Ian Abrams says integrating their networks helped spread the word and expand media coverage.

Tactics
For the second year, three celebrity chefs helped students at a culinary arts high school cater the event. Their involvement was leveraged with media. A local CBS anchor was recruited as emcee, which Abrams notes guaranteed coverage.

General consumer and Hispanic outlets were also targeted, as were outlets and bloggers covering arts and entertainment, social events, philanthropy, food, and the local medical community.

GH established The Education Fund's Twitter presence and used its existing Facebook page to communicate and post photos before and after the auction. The team tweeted at the event and encouraged attendees to tweet.

Honorees also drove awareness on their social media channels throughout the campaign.

Video interviews in which honorees explained how public school helped them succeed were shown at the event and posted online.

Results
More than $100,000 was raised, up from $80,000 last year and $70,000 in 2009. Seven hundred tickets were sold, up about 200 from 2009.

Forty-seven stories ran in various outlets including The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Diario Las Americas, and socialmiami.com.

Future
Abrams helped Lecht find part-time social media help and says GH would like to lend more support in the future. Lecht is currently promoting numerous projects, including an October teacher conference.

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