Each year, the national office of the Arthritis Foundation creates a turn-key public relations planner as a toolkit for all 42 chapters to use. The planner provides a roadmap of communications tactics, enabling the Arthritis Foundation to convey a consistent strong voice.
The organization sought to revamp its public relations planner (called a Media Relations Tackle BoxSM by c21) into a tool the chapters would more frequently use, and engaged c21 to develop ideas and content that would resonate with its constituents.
c21 began with an audit of the format, content and delivery of the Arthritis Foundation’s existing public relations planner and interviewed a cross-section of chapter communications representatives to determine the elements that met their needs and which were missing. The audit revealed that the chapters were lacking a way to communicate best practices with each other, needed fresh ideas to recognize volunteers and reach retention goals. In addition, they needed education on social media and email marketing as channels to reach their audiences.
c21 developed nearly 45 items for the Tackle Box that addressed these issues, including:
Public relations term definitions and media pitching tips;
Template press releases, e-newsletter stories and op-eds customizable with local statistics from each chapter;
Sample media alerts, calendar items, sponsorship solicitation and agreement letters in accordance with AP style;
Social media term definitions and best practices; and
Monthly action steps for executing the defined media relations items to reach the organization’s overall communication goals.
c21 also compiled a list of communications best practices and tips, as well as chapter contact information to facilitate ideas and “best practices” sharing across the country.
c21’s Tackle Box was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, and was applauded by the national Arthritis Foundation office and chapters alike. c21 made the planner available on the Arthritis Foundation’s Intranet, as well as via CD and hard copy, which increased chapter adoption and use. Only minor changes were made to the planner the following year, indicating the format, content and delivery developed by c21 were replicable year over year, and were successful in optimizing the Arthritis Foundation’s resources and budget.