strong families logoLed by Forward Together, the Strong Families Initiative is a ten-year effort to ensure that all families have the rights, recognition and respect they deserve. The initiative’s constituency is “the four out of five people in the United States who do not live behind the proverbial picket fence.” While the online components of the campaign are tailored to the psychographic audience described above, much of the work of the effort is carried by bricks-and-mortar organizations serving particular demographic and/or geographic communities. All told, there are nearly eighty organizational partners who collaborate under the Strong Families umbrella.

Operational Questions

While the leaders of the Strong Families have deep experience and deep skills in navigating the questions of coalition governance, they found some new questions as they took the coalition into the online space. LightBox Collaborative offered research, counsel and facilitation to help the group resolve key questions as to the ownership of and access to intellectual property, use of joint lists for fundraising purposes, brand identity and more.

Because Initiative leaders had a commitment to creating a campaign that would build their allies and make each of their respective organizations stronger, the campaign strategy and all governance practices had to account for alignment and autonomy. LightBox Collaborative assisted in crafting an overall message platform, communications plan and social media strategy, all designed to leverage and enhance the strategic assets that the larger number of organizational partners each brought to the table.

Communications Opportunity: Mama’s Day

The Strong Families Initiative leadership has a firm commitment to supporting partners in leveraging strategic communications opportunities to advance their shared message, and therefore leads an annual “Mama’s Day” campaign. In an effort to recognize and celebrate the many ways we mother in our world today, the Initiative commissioned e-cards from eight artists. These cards are made for the mothers of today, acknowledging families with two moms, single moms, activist moms, and professional caregivers. Cards could be customized via the web site and sent via email and social media.

Though an effective online campaign pegged to Mother’s Day 2012, some 5000 ecards were sent, Strong Families picked up almost a thousand new Facebook fans, and an additional 1000 email subscribers. They also gained 14 new online donors – even though they made a strategic choice not to make a monetary ask. To learn more, please see the case study on our blog.

Communications Opportunity: Election Day

LightBox Collaborative also assisted Strong Families with the creation of fill-in-the-blank voter guides for the November 2012 elections. The guides featured common format, design and messaging that highlighted key Strong Families themes, while allowing organizational partners to tailor the guides to highlight specific issues relevant to their geographic and/or demographic communities.

To complement the guides and highlight the importance of voting, Strong Families also created the “Vote for Us” campaign, which encouraged users to submit images of their families as the ultimate beneficiaries of the election, along with statements about the issues that are most important to them.

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Holly Minch is LightBox’s founder. Read more about how we help clients hold good ideas up to the light.