Siemens Foundation boosts profile with education effort

The Siemens Foundation is a nonprofit group that provides $7 million per year for educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.

The Siemens Foundation is a nonprofit group that provides $7 million per year for educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.

However, the group worked with Weber Shandwick throughout 2008 to raise its profile as a top nonprofit organization at a time when financial donations are hard to find.

Strategy
WS and Siemens sought to raise the group's profile as a thought leader, as well as gain media exposure. The team aimed to do that by combining traditional media outreach with an online component, through thought leadership platforms, and by taking advantage of timely news.

“The strategy was for them to be established as thought leaders in math and science education,” says Jennifer Risi, EVP of the global strategic media group at WS.

Tactics
The effort sought out placement for the foundation in general interest, business, and trade publications, creating its own “news bureau” to leverage program announcements and financial milestones. Its cornerstone, the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, was created with media outreach in mind.

The team also conducted Op-Ed outreach and leveraged events in the news to gain speaking opportunities. “Sometimes math and finance can be dry subjects to people, but to show the impact to people who are not involved in those professions, you have to show how much of our lives are... impacted by science and math,” says Jim Whaley, president of the foundation.

Results
The foundation significantly increased the number of scholarships it received. The team also secured 135 total placements in newspapers, regional TV and radio, and online, and saw a 20% increase in coverage.

Future
WS and Siemens plan to work together during 2009.

PR team: Siemens Foundation (Iselin, NJ) and Weber Shandwick (New York)

Campaign: Creating the Innovators of Tomorrow

Duration: February 1, 2008-January 31, 2009

Budget: $300,000

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