How do you announce a nationwide partnership with First Lady Michelle Obama and an historic coalition of diverse faith-leaders united in fighting childhood obesity in a way that encourages community buy-in?

SJSC-Identified Goals:

  • Announce the Faith United Against Childhood Obesity initiative in key states as an historic and innovative program partnering with First Lady Obama’s Let’s Move! Office
  • Include local communities in the announcements to secure grassroots support
  • Get 200 local faith leaders nationwide to sign-on to the initiative

The Plan:

  • Develop one-pagers and talking points to introduce the initiative to new audiences
  • Hold press conferences in each of the key states hosted by local faith leaders
  • Use the press events as a means to recruit new faith leader participants and to engage the communities
  • Place opinion pieces and Letters to the Editor in diverse national outlets to broaden exposure and support

The Details:

  • When one of the world’s leading children’s advocacy and philanthropy organizations needed to rollout an historic, flagstone initiative, they reached out to SJS Consultants (SJSC) CEO Safiya Jafari Simmons to design and execute the campaign.
  • SJSC completely revamped an existing one-pager to be more informative and engaging.  The original one-pager was word-heavy and written for mostly internal audiences.  By refining the mission of the document and its intended audiences, SJSC created a document that resonated with policymakers, legislators, clergy, and community members.  The finished document was then blasted out to faith leaders nationwide, as well other potential supporters.
  • SJSC worked with Save The Children to understand whom it wanted to reach and helped to identify and refine the call-to-action for supporters.  After aligning the campaign’s media targets with the initiative’s five key outreach states, SJSC planned and held press conferences in as far away as Wisconsin and Colorado and as close as Ohio and Tennessee.  Hosted by local faith leaders in their places of worship, emceed by the STC’s Associate Vice President for Policy and Advocacy, and with remarks offered by White House staff, the media events brought the communities together and encouraged participation in ways tailored to the various demographics in each city.  For instance, in Colorado, SJSC collaborated with the hosting faith leader to tie the press announcement into the organization’s family hike and picnic to tap into the community’s appreciation for the outdoors and corporate physical activity.
  • Earned media was also a key element of the campaign to make sure outreach covered people in various regions and across different demographic markets. In addition to getting broadcast cameras from local news media at each of the press events, SJSC drafted and placed Letters to the Editor and op-eds for Save The Children executives and high-ranking state government leaders in outlets like The Huffington Post and Education Week.
  • The result?  SJSC secured coverage in local newspapers nationwide, like Colorado’s Canyon Courier, as well as national papers like USA Today. The state-by-state press events helped Save The Children meet their faith leader sign-on number of more than 200 clergy – a number the White House’s Let’s Move!Office commended and used in their faith-partnered work moving forward