The message of giving a child a brighter future runs across the #WhyWeFoster campaign which is being run online and through social media and is aimed at potential foster carers living with a 40 mile radius of Southampton.
It coincides with foster care fortnight, which began last week, and positions fostering as something beyond the everyday, with the hashtags #NotJustAJob and #JobSatisfaction being used.
The campaign aims to help Southampton City Council recruit 30 families this year to provide foster care for children, with a particular need for families who would be able to provide homes for older or disabled children, or siblings.
The shortage of foster carers in the city reflects a wider national picture, with more than 6,800 children seeking a foster family.
The benefits of foster care, such as providing a stable home for children who need one, and giving them a platform from which to develop, are among the campaign’s key messages.
A series of pop-up events where people can learn more about what’s involved in fostering are taking place throughout the rest of this week, in a bid to capitalise on the awareness of foster care fortnight.
Combining events with social media activity and targeted door drops is proving to be the more effective tactic to reach audiences, according to the council’s comms team.
It is maximising its reach by combining organic posts such as videos of foster carers telling their stories and encouraging people to get in touch, with paid-for posts promoting local events where potential foster carers can find out more about fostering.
The council is using earned media in the local press alongside paid for advertising on radio, outdoor, Facebook, print and direct mail.
And a short film tackles commonly asked questions that people have, such as whether smokers or pet owners can foster children, whether they can work, do they need to be in a relationship, and so on.
Social media posts point people to fostering pages on the council’s website, which highlight the package of care for foster parents, with people given support, training, and placements carefully matched.
Patrick O’Shea, the council’s senior comms officer, told PRWeek: "We aim to make the rewards clear and address the misconceptions around fostering in our communications. We have had great success using very simple, short video content created in house and shared on social media. This helps us to tell the stories of our existing carers to provide a window on what it’s like to foster with us."