How to Make Program Growth Your Next Big Media Story

Organizations go through phases, and if you’re fortunate enough to be on the precipice of growth, consider using that as an opportunity to raise your public profile. DG+CO recently worked with the national “I Have A Dream” Foundation to do just that.

Since 1980 the “I Have A Dream” Foundation has provided American youth with opportunities to pursue higher education. With the approach of its 35th anniversary, the foundation was preparing to announce a major growth plan – to double the number of cities it works in and triple the number of students it serves. The organization seized this moment as an opportunity to expand organizational visibility too.

Since Thanksgiving, we have worked with “I Have A Dream” to extend the reach of a series of national Public Service Announcements (PSAs) launched with “CBS Cares.” In addition to regular broadcasts through the 2015 holiday season, two new PSAs – starring Tom Selleck and Téa Leoni – will broadcast this weekend during coverage of Super Bowl 50. You can get a sneak peek of the Super Bowl PSAs here:

The holiday PSAs with Mayim Bialik and LL COOL J can be watched here:

Our firm was able to place stories in media outlets that cover education and entertainment, including Scholastic, Education DIVE, The Hill, Channel Guide magazine, Look to the Stars, and more. We also secured regional press with the Atlanta public radio affiliate WABE and Atlanta Progressive News.

Using a strategic approach, we helped to identify the key messages that the “I Have A Dream” Foundation should put forth as it enters a new chapter of its history. We also helped to connect the organization’s narrative to overarching narratives that were in the news around the issues of minority access to education.

For example: the students who participate in the “I Have A Dream” Foundation’s programs complete college at more than double the rate of their low-income peers. 90 percent of them represent racial minorities, and often they are the first in their families to go to college. These facts stood in stark contrast to negative news stories that came out around the time of our launch – most notably one showing that the gap in graduation rates between minority students and white students in America is on the rise.

In addition to changing media narratives, we also helped to the national “I Have A Dream” staff communicate with its national network of affiliates, and we helped to generate website traffic through Google Adwords. Our work positioned the “I Have A Dream” Foundation on a stronger footing as it works to bring the dream of a college education to even more young people across our country. We wish them all the best in this process.