September 11, 2017
Good Causes Need Smarter Conversations Too
Pro bono work has been part of Greentarget’s mission since our earliest days – and we contributed more than 1,000 hours in 2016. Through these efforts, our staff gets a chance to use their professional skills to support organizations they believe in, and our junior staffers get to work on higher-level projects. And our pro bono clients get to see how our team can elevate an executive’s profile – and elevate the conversation around the issue they’re dedicated to. For example, in the past year we’ve worked a lot with the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (DVLC), a Chicago nonprofit that provides free legal services to survivors of domestic violence. Their work comes in the midst of crisis (orders of protection) and in the aftermath (divorce, custody and immigration). Our work with the DVLC began in April 2016 when we introduced Executive Director Margaret Duval to local reporters. We provided Duval with media coaching, wrote a crisis preparation plan, drafted media advisories and social media posts and generated attention for DVLC’s annual spring benefit. We established a PR strategy for DVLC based on its business goals and fueled by our tactics for both achieving short-term milestones and laying the foundation for long-term progress. DVLC wanted to expand its sources of fundraising, so our mission was relatively simple: Increase the organization’s recognition in Chicago to extend DVLC’s fundraising base. Our media coaching sessions paid off when Duval received a barrage of interview requests from reporters at local and national outlets – print, online and broadcast. They were writing about a Chicago native who in 2016 started a local movement when she announced via Twitter that she would donate $10 to DVLC each time Aroldis Chapman, a pitcher who had been acquired by the Chicago Cubs after allegations of domestic abuse, saved a game. As soon as the reporters started calling, we went to work, coaching Duval on interview tactics and facilitating introductory calls. She was interviewed by The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, NBC 5 Chicago and ESPN, among other online and broadcast media. The initial coverage helped Duval quickly identify the media and fundraising potential of a formal fundraising campaign around the Chapman story. It also showed sports reporters that she was insightful and could be a valuable source on domestic violence issues. For example, the New York Times reporter who wrote about the campaign reached out to Duval for a recent story, then quoted her on the good and bad of making domestic violence public on social media when the alleged abuser is a professional athlete. Greentarget’s corporate journalism approach applies to media relations as well – we engage with reporters who write for the specific audiences that are most valuable to our clients. When we began conducting media outreach around DVLC’s 2016 annual benefit, we focused on reporters who covered nonprofits and events at publications such as Crain’s Chicago Business, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, the Chicago Sun-Times and more. Most reporters were busy on the days of DVLC events, but our outreach familiarized them with the DVLC. These efforts made the Chicago Tribune’s Balancing Act columnist more open to our proposal for an in-person introductory meeting with Duval in June 2017. Duval’s ability to tell DVLC’s story, discuss how the state budget crisis was impacting DVLC and its clients and speak about trends in domestic violence led to a profile in the Chicago Tribune, which published in July and generated valuable buzz among potential donors.