3/9/11 NOTES FROM KELLI AT THE BORGEN PROJECT:
I will be going to the post office tonight to send off the footage you asked for!
Here are some insights for you:
1. Overall strategy:
How do you measure success?
Advocate: We meet with U.S. leaders to secure their support for crucial poverty reduction legislation.
---We now have fantastic political access that Clint took years fostering. The numbe Rof meetings we successfully get and can make it to is also a measure of success.
Mobilize: We mobilize people across the globe behind efforts to make poverty a political priority.
----Again, the number of people we can mobilize is a big sign of success. This is
especially true if it is imperative that we get constituents calling their
representatives (if their is a pressing bill/issue), but in general there is always
a reason to call.
Educate: We teach basic advocacy skills that allow citizens to communicate with their government.
----It is a quick victory for us if we can take a group of people who have never called
or communicated with their representatives and teach them how easy and essential
it is. I guess the measure for this is difficult, but maybe the number of speeches
and lessons that Clint and our volunteers give would measure the success of this.
Issue Messaging: We build awareness of global issues and innovations in poverty-reduction.
----Metrix is definitely hard on this one as well. I am not sure how to measure our
success in this.
I would also take a look at The Borgen Project Time Line (time line doc is on the right side of the page) to get an idea of where we have come from.
Who is your target market?
----Our target market is anyone who can vote.
What is the main value proposition to the target audience (why should
This is where we have about three different answers depending on how the audience leans politically. Generally we note national security and economic reasons for why they should care. If they already care about global poverty issues, we generally try to show that the U.S. really isn't doing as much as the average person thinks. The U.S. should be doing more.
2. Please explain your current online presence, and where you envision
it to go.
---Our current online presence is superficial. We have many social media accounts, but none that we have utilized to each medium's full potential. We have a blog, facebook, twitter, etc. We have dabbled in online fundraising sites. We are trying to make our presence stronger. We want to have consistency with our updates and we want to utilize each social media account to its full extent.
I hope this helps get you going. I can clarify/go into more detail on some things if you need me to. Just shoot me an email.
The Borgen Project
MEDIA COVERAGE & THE BORGEN PROJECT
THE BORGEN PROJECT’S MEDIA OBJECTIVES
- Raise awareness about The Borgen Project and increase the organization’s profile.
- Issue message. Provide strategic, poverty-reduction advocacy (see issue messaging strategy below).
- Put pressure on congressional leaders who aren’t supporting poverty-reduction legislation (Good example here).
ISSUE MESSAGING STRATEGY
The issues we want to communicate to the public.
- Tackle Myths & Pessimism: There is nothing complicated about improving living conditions for people suffering in abject poverty. Global poverty has been drastically reduced in recent years and there are many success stories of conditions being improved for families, villages and entire countries. The Borgen Project is challenging public and political pessimism in the U.S. and addressing the frequent justifications given as to why the U.S. isn’t doing more to address global poverty.
- Promoters of Possibility: The Borgen Project promotes innovations in poverty reduction and builds awareness about ongoing successes.
- Address the “Hero Goggles”: The public drastically overestimates what is being done to address global poverty. On average, Americans estimate that 20% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid; in reality less than 1 percent goes to assisting the world’s poor. For political pressure to rise, the public needs to be aware of current shortcomings.
- Strategic Reasons for U.S. Involvement: The U.S. should prevent 25,000 children from dying each day, because the U.S. can prevent 25,000 children from dying each day. Not only is U.S. involvement a humanitarian imperative, but the United States also has a strategic interest in improving the plight of the world’s poor. The Borgen Project is building awareness about the economic, national security, overpopulation and diplomatic reasons for strong U.S. leadership in addressing global poverty.
- U.N. Millennium Development Goals: Nothing says global poverty can be eradicated like world leaders agreeing to eradicate it. Building awareness that governments agreed to work together to cut global poverty in half by 2015 is crucial for holding governments accountable, and for making the public aware that the political framework for ending global poverty now exists.
HEADLINES WE’D LOVE TO CREATE (when necessary)
We view our role as promoters of possibility and we like to communicate innovations and successes in the global poverty fight. However, a handful of congressional leaders routinely block poverty-reduction bills. A far too common scenario (especially in the case of Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma) is one political leader prevents a bill that would help millions of the poorest people on the planet. More often than not these leaders devastating actions go unnoticed, generate zero media coverage and escape public scrutiny. We’re trying to change that.
“Sen. X has done little for the poor.”
“Sen. X blocks bill to help millions of the world’s poor.”
“Experts agree global poverty now addressable.”
“U.S. government ranked 2nd to last in helping the poor.”
For a good example of coverage we want to generate when leaders block poverty-reduction bills, read Borgen’s Op Ed in The Huffington Post after Rep. Ros-Lehtinen blocked a bill to help 100 million people.
POTENTIAL NEWS ANGLES
- The national security reasons for addressing global poverty. This is a potentially big story that hasn’t received news coverage. The top military leaders (including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) along with the National Security Strategy of the United States discuss development and poverty-reduction has being crucial to protecting the United States. Despite this, congress continues to allocate billions of dollars a year to weapons programs that the military doesn’t want, while under-funding global poverty-reduction efforts that would help bring stability to war-prone regions.
- The economic/job creation reasons for addressing global poverty. This is very timely. (more info)
- Human interests stories about our volunteers in their local news (The Borgen Project has people in 70 U.S. cities).
- How much people spend on Christmas presents, beer, smoking, golf, etc. compared to ending world hunger.
- Compare cost of events in the news (oil spill, new stadium, defense budget, etc.) to the cost of addressing poverty. Try to target unpopular spending and avoid beloved programs.
- Innovations. There are lots of great methods and inventions for helping people.
Helpful stats for cost comparisons:
Put the $550 billion U.S. defense budget or the millions a city is spending on a new stadium in context. Send reporter’s helpful info on how the cost of big events in the news compares to the impact the funding would have for the world’s poor.
- $30 Billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger. (source)
- $28 Billion: Amount the U.S. gives to improving conditions in poor nations. (source)
- $4 Billion: Budget of the largest relief agency on the plant (World Food Programme) to assist 90 million people a year in 70 countries. (source)
- $980 Million: Budget for International Red Cross. (source)
BRAINSTORMING MEDIA SOURCES TO TARGET
The political shows are great for reaching the political types, but we also want to reach the largest possible audience. As you brainstorm for a media source to target, ask yourself, “what do my friends and I consume for news and info?” It would be great to have The Borgen Project on MSNBC’s Hardball, but with only 314,000 Hardball viewers compared to AARP’s circulation of 24 million people (the largest of any magazine), it goes without saying that the latter would do more for the cause. It’s overplayed, but we can’t stress it enough – “think outside the box” when brainstorming for media.
XM Radio, In Flight Magazines, CNN, Today Show, Oprah, People Magazine, Politico, Hardball, MSNBC, AARP Magazine, Newsweek
Might be useful:
Brief History of Our Media Efforts: The Borgen Project is an all-volunteer army and our media relation’s efforts have unfortunately taken a back seat to other priorities. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is a lot of public interest in The Borgen Project. Our organization is very marketable and as you learn more about the cause, you will find plenty of great tidbits and angles for generating news coverage.