Objective: Building on then-President-elect Barack Obama's National Day of Service and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Knights of Columbus kicked off an effort to distribute coats to Washington, DC's, children in need on January 19. The group also scheduled events in Detroit and Chicago for late January. The organization's focus is charity and volunteering, so the outreach program was created in part for “media anxious to see examples of the kind of volunteer work we've always been doing,” said Patrick Korten, VP of communications for the Knights.
Idea: The group's internal PR staff conducted press outreach hoping that reports would encourage other groups to follow suit. “We seek the PR only so that others might be encouraged to do the same thing,” Korten said. Without external PR assistance, the Knights organized the Washington, DC, event to provide “a newsworthy twist in a very cold month of the year, when coats are an extremely good thing for volunteer organizations to provide,” Korten added.
Tools: The Knights sought to create buzz by conducting media outreach tied to coverage of the National Day of Service and by reaching out to religious outlets. The team also conducted an internal component to mobilize its members by sending out a mass e-mail to knights across the US and to members of the National Fraternal Congress of America. It also promoted the program via Washington-area Catholic parishes.
Measurement: The group is measuring the amount of coverage the push receives and number of other groups that engage in similar efforts. “We hope... [that others] will take interest in it,” Korten said.
Company: Knights of Columbus
Campaign: Coats for Kids
PR Team: Knights of Columbus (internal)
Launch: January 19
Budget: Between $2,000 and $3,000