Driving a Successful Campaign for Volunteers

Aubrey Martin

January 17, 2021

When the fall 2020 semester began at San Diego State University, the COVID-19 pandemic had already more than changed just about every facet of life. From limiting gatherings, so-called Zoom University, to a community coming together to try to protect the most vulnerable population – the rules of the road were being rewritten in so many ways.

A group of seniors in SDSU’s School of Journalism & Media Studies buckled in for their capstone campaign, and started on a journey to make a difference. Supporting client Meals on Wheels San Diego County, the team worked for the 16 weeks of the semester to research, plan, implement and evaluate an appreciation campaign for the 2,000 volunteers of Meals on Wheels San Diego County who serve 3,000 seniors in the area.

In their research, the PR team found the Meals on Wheels San Diego County volunteers to be he engine that drives the organization. These volunteers did not want a grand gesture from the nonprofit, the team’s research found.

Limited by the conditions due to the pandemic, the team knew “we were not able to host an in-person event,” said Julien des Pres, logistics lead.

Instead of a cookie cutter campaign, the team devised tactics that were engaging but safely distant for volunteers, like carpool karaoke with a Spotify playlist and encouragement to post clips singing along the route on social media. The team created an appreciation video featuring many of the seniors who receive meals giving a heartfelt thanks to the fleet of Meals on Wheels San Diego County volunteers.

Over the course of the campaign, the PR team increased volunteers’ sense of appreciation increased by nearly 3% and their sense of belonging.

The PR team grew the group of volunteers by adding 55 new volunteers in November as a result of their efforts.

Despite never meeting their campaign teammates in person, the PR team created a successful campaign for their client.

Driving a Successful Campaign for Volunteers
Driving a Successful Campaign for Volunteers

When the fall 2020 semester began at San Diego State University, the COVID-19 pandemic had already more than changed just about every facet of life. From limiting gatherings, so-called Zoom University, to a community coming together to try to protect the most vulnerable population – the rules of the road were being rewritten in so many ways.

A group of seniors in SDSU’s School of Journalism & Media Studies buckled in for their capstone campaign, and started on a journey to make a difference. Supporting client Meals on Wheels San Diego County, the team worked for the 16 weeks of the semester to research, plan, implement and evaluate an appreciation campaign for the 2,000 volunteers of Meals on Wheels San Diego County who serve 3,000 seniors in the area.

In their research, the PR team found the Meals on Wheels San Diego County volunteers to be he engine that drives the organization. These volunteers did not want a grand gesture from the nonprofit, the team’s research found.

Limited by the conditions due to the pandemic, the team knew “we were not able to host an in-person event,” said Julien des Pres, logistics lead.

Instead of a cookie cutter campaign, the team devised tactics that were engaging but safely distant for volunteers, like carpool karaoke with a Spotify playlist and encouragement to post clips singing along the route on social media. The team created an appreciation video featuring many of the seniors who receive meals giving a heartfelt thanks to the fleet of Meals on Wheels San Diego County volunteers.

Over the course of the campaign, the PR team increased volunteers’ sense of appreciation increased by nearly 3% and their sense of belonging.

The PR team grew the group of volunteers by adding 55 new volunteers in November as a result of their efforts.

Despite never meeting their campaign teammates in person, the PR team created a successful campaign for their client.