“The findings of the RAND Corporation’s report on the caregivers for the nation’s ill and injured active and veteran military were worse than discouraging. The 5.5 million military caregivers endure terrible mental, physical, financial, and legal challenges, and the country just didn’t seem to care. Susan Davis International, a boutique PR agency, took on the assignment on sparking change on behalf of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. It succeeded in its mission, and also won first place for Best Media Relations in PR Daily’s 2015 Nonprofit PR Awards.
Its goals were ambitious: In addition to spurring action, the agency sought to build public opinion in support of caregivers and forge alliances with service organizations, businesses, and nonprofits. A three-phased approach set the stage for achieving these objectives, starting with a national campaign to set the stage by (in part) rebranding the Dole Foundation as a leading voice in support of military and veteran caregiving.
The second phase witnessed the launch of the media strategy, with SDI coordinating with RAND on the release of the report, hosting a press conference and luncheon, placing an op-ed under Senator Dole’s byline (co-authored by the CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project), and promoting caregiver op-eds to appear around military-themed holidays (such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day).
The final phase of the plan tapped into the awareness raised in Phase Two. And it worked, most importantly with legislation introduced in both the House and Senate while prominent legislators formed a Congressional caregiver caucus. The White House, meanwhile, announced a new caregiver program coordinated by the Department of Defense.
The media coverage that sparked these outcomes included a feature on the ABC World News, along with stories in hundreds of publications and electronic outlets, creating impressions in the hundreds of millions. Other results are too long to list here, but those recounted are more than enough to earn our award for Best Media Relations. We offer our congratulations to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and SDI.”
– PR Daily