Image Credit: The Daily Collegian
I’m so proud to be able to lead HVC’s Alzheimer’s Association Greater PA Chapter team this semester. Having previously worked as an account associate with the same client, I’ve grown a fond appreciation for the work that the organization does on a daily basis. The Alzheimer’s Association is a national, non-profit organization that aims to enhance care and support to people suffering, reduce the risk of this disease, and provide advanced research to ultimately eliminate Alzheimer’s.
One of the major projects my team started on this August was working with the chapter to promote their annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, Oct.. 29, 2016. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a nationwide fundraising event, with more than 600 communities that host it every year. This philanthropic phenomenon is one of the world’s largest events dedicated to increasing awareness and raising funds to support those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
With the event being held in State College for the first time, some of the goals my team were tasked with included increasing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and promoting the event. To do this, my team and I strategized ways we could do that while keeping the student body actively engaged. Here are a few of the highlights of our work:
To increase awareness, our team came up with two approaches: social media and educational awareness in the community.
For social media, our team drafted Facebook posts and tweets that promoted key facts and figures surrounding the prevalence and seriousness of Alzheimer’s disease. The client was able to use these social media posts to bolster their digital footprint and increase awareness on social media outlets that attract thousands of followers.
Educational awareness was a very important part of our strategy. By educating the public on the issues surrounding Alzheimer’s disease we hoped to encourage individuals to take action by walking with us at the event. To do this, we had #WalkWednesdays in the HUB Robeson Center at Penn State. There, we set up a table where students could come and learn more about the disease and also register for the walk. We took this table to downtown State College where we set up in front of the Student Bookstore during homecoming weekend, which allowed us to meet and engage with many residents, returning students and visitors who support the movement or wanted to learn more.
Promoting the Event
One of the first tasks my team started on was creating a press kit. The press kit would be essential in getting the media to cover the event. The press kit included a press release, a media alert, a fact sheet on the Greater PA Chapter, a fact sheet on the national Alzheimer’s Association, three PSA’s (:20, :30, :40 seconds respectively) and a media list comprising of local State College media, Altoona media and student media outlets at Penn State. Our team was responsible for pitching to on-campus media outlets and we received coverage in both the Daily Collegian and Onward State, the school’s biggest media outlets.
One of the fun promotions that we did for the Walk included having a promotional display on Pattee Library mall. The display featured balloons and signs promoting the event, but it also featured the Alzheimer’s Association’s promise garden. During the Walk, participants have the opportunity to choose a promise flower with a color representing their reason for walking. Reasons can range from having the disease or caring for someone with the disease, to supporting the cause and a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s. Colors range from blue to orange, yellow and purple. The weather was perfect and the flowers spun in the wind all day while students passed by, took pictures and learned more about the event.
In the end, the event was a huge success with over 500 people participating. In an interview with the Daily Collegian, Diane Geisler, Chairman of the Board of the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter while recapping the event said, “I think the awareness is really out there. People are starting to talk about Alzheimer’s more… the more the awareness grows, the bigger our event grows and the more money we raise for research so that there is a day when we don’t need to have this walk anymore.”
I’m so proud of the work my team did and look forward to future projects with our client.