Meals On Wheels Public Relations Plan Essay

, Research Paper I. Background of Organization A. History of Organization Today?s elderly nutrition programs in the United States trace their roots back to Great Britain during World War II. When German planes bombarded English soil, many people in Britain lost their homes and subsequently their ability to cook meals for themselves.

, Research Paper

I. Background of Organization

A. History of Organization

Today?s elderly nutrition programs in the United States trace their roots back to Great Britain during World War II. When German planes bombarded English soil, many people in Britain lost their homes and subsequently their ability to cook meals for themselves. The Women?s Volunteer Service for Civil Defense responded to this emergency by preparing and delivering meals to their disadvantaged neighbors. The women also brought refreshments in canteens to servicemen during World War II. The canteens came to be known as ?Meals-on-Wheels.?

B. Background

Meals-on-Wheels is truly a volunteer-driven agency. Caring individuals go out each day and deliver a nutritious lunch and dinner to needy seniors. Giving of their time to serve others is what makes our volunteers special. They bring our clients not only food, but important personal social contact that improves the quality of life for homebound seniors. The meals are delivered 7 days a week with two meals being delivered during lunch hour: a hot dinner for immediate consumption and a cold ?sack? supper for later.

Today, Meals-on-Wheels is preparing for a dramatic increase in clients. The fastest growing population are people over 85 years of age. Serving the needs of this population will be challenging. Meals-on-Wheels is ready to grow with the changing needs of the community. Increasing our volunteers will be a priority.

The IRS considers donations of cash, securities, and property as charitable deductions for income tax purposes. Sometimes people are surprised to learn that only two percent of funding for Meals-on-Wheels comes from government sources. That is why Meals-on-Wheels relies so heavily on charitable contributions.

II. Research

A. Identify internal publics

Our internal publics are our administration and volunteers which include the people who assist in preparing, packaging and delivering meals, as well as the dieticians and chefs. Also people are needed for fundraising. These volunteers could be made up of students, churches, families, the AARP and many others. The internal publics might include civic groups such as Civitan or Rotoract. Involving the participation of church groups and specifically the Southern Baptist Convention, Meals-on-Wheels can lay a foundation of volunteers.

B. Identify external publics

Our external publics include two groups. There are those who are not able to prepare meals and have a need for food, usually 6o and over, at any income level, living on their own, but unable to prepare meals. Younger, disabled adults may also be eligible if they are homebound, and there are openings on the route. There is no minimum or maximum income level for eligibility. I thought this was interesting because this need transcends social class, race, or income level. Meals-on-Wheels continues to deliver to anyone that has a need: white, black, rich, or poor. The other group of external publics might be the general public, specifically those who may not be willing to volunteer but willing to make a donation. It is important that Meals-on-Wheels maintain a positive image to this certain publics.

C. Survey

A survey was administered to gather information about volunteering and fundraising ideas. If the administration knows the underlying motives for volunteering, perhaps they can get a better grasp on how to increase their volunteer work force. It was decided a questionnaire about volunteering was needed. We will assume the sample size of the survey was adequate and representative of the population. I have picked out certain questions that reveal certain aspects about volunteering. By no means is this survey all-inclusive, but we hope it will let us get a better grasp on motivating factors.

D. Survey Analysis:

· It was found that 32% volunteer at a hospital/hospice or clinic, 24% don?t volunteer, 16% with some other type of volunteering, 8% with children, and 8% with elderly programs such as Meals-on-Wheels.

· Of those that don?t volunteer, it is not surprising to find almost 70% are male.

· Females comprise the majority of the volunteer positions.

· 40% spent 1-7 days a year volunteering as opposed to only 8% spending two months or more.

· When polled about interest in fundraising events, there was a close tie for an outdoor concert and banquet fundraiser. Less than 15% showed an interest in a 5k Charity Run.

· It was decided a combination approach of the outdoor concert and banquet might serve as an idea for a fund raising approach.

· One of the main reasons people volunteer is to know they made a real difference in someone?s life. Religion did not seem to be a predominant reason.

· Getting out to meet new people (social motivator) is another major motivating factor in volunteering.

· The majority of people agreed or strongly agreed with a willingness to volunteer for Meals-on-Wheels. But saying one thing in a survey and actually volunteering are two entirely separate things. This survey tried to focus on the motivating factors of volunteering.

Attached is a copy of the survey and charts showing certain trends in the data.

III. Define Strategy

The strategy of Meals-on-Wheels is consistent with its mission statement. The main strategy is to help seniors remain independent members of society. The strategy also is to help seniors maintain their health, manage their own affairs, and live with dignity. The main strategy for public relations is to fundraise, promote image, and increase volunteers.

IV. Define Goals and Objectives

After communicating with the client, specific goals and objectives were set forth. Kathy Bates, coordinator for Meals-on-Wheels, specified many goals to be put in action to help them reach their overall strategy. Their main goal is provide for those unable to afford or prepare their own meals. There are many specific objectives.

· The client wanted to see a 25% increase in volunteers and donations by the year 2001.

· Meals-on-Wheels wanted to project its image to contributors as one that funneled all of its money back into the cause. Perhaps a fund allocation chart would be insightful.

· Many people had not heard about Meals-on-Wheels and they wanted to increase their exposure.

· They also wanted to increase volunteers specifically on the weekends.

· They had exhausted all their ideas for fundraisers, so they wanted some specific suggestions and ideas for unique fundraisers

· Wanted to increase participation with local companies and civic groups.

· Wanted to get a spokesperson or celebrity involved

V. Communication Step:

A. Establish which station or print piece you intend to use:

Since Meals-on-Wheels operates on a limited budget and is a non-profit organization, it cannot afford local or national broadcast advertising. Although it will not completely ignore advertising, it will pursue other venues that cost little or no money. The majority of the budget will go to a fundraiser at Bravo! and Hal & Mal?s. The media that we have chosen to use to communicate to our publics includes the following. The Clarion Ledger runs a weekly guide to entertainment every Thursday. It charges no money for a listing in this guide. Also, we have had many talks with the Southern Style staff editor, Susan Bartley, and after interviewing Horace Goodman, Meals-on-Wheel?s Volunteer of the Year, she has decided to run at least 2 stories featuring Meals-on-Wheels. The exposure that our organization will receive is invaluable and definitely promotes their image. Print and evening news would be a good media for the target audience, but we do not have the resources. The case tells us the financial base is located in the church, so use the church newsletter would be a useful and cost-efficient way to spread information and recruit volunteers. A public service announcement would be an excellent media source as well. Some radio stations allow guests to come in and talk about certain issues for a worthy cause. This would be an excellent idea to mention the fundraiser. It was decided that the only media time to be bought at the present time is 60 spots @ $15.00/spot on WHJT, a Christian radio station.

B. Define a schedule for the run

It was decided to run 60 spots, 2 a day for a month, prior to the fundraiser on February 14th. The spots would be scheduled during the drive home spots, occurring around 5-7 P.M. These time slots were thought to capture a certain demographic who might be geared towards volunteering and perhaps attending the banquet fundraiser. When future budgets allow, more money will be spent on advertising. A schedule for running the other types of media that do not cost money can be found in the timetable.

C. Write the spots, or newspaper releases. See attached

D. Define a budget for the plan. See attached

VI. Timetable:

The time frame is hypothetical and considerably more time would be needed to administer the plan. See attached

VII. Describe how you intend to evaluate the plan

Most of the budget will concentrate on the banquet fundraiser. Any funds generated through this can be used for future advertising. The results of the survey revealed most people would like to attend a banquet fundraiser. After calling several restaurants, Dan Bloomenthal at Bravo! agreed to donate his time and services to the cause. He would only charge for food at cost. After Mr. Bloomenthal turned in his menu (see attached), he expressed that Randy Keitel, owner of Hal & Mal?s, desire to contribute as well. He donated use of his courtyard for an outdoor concert. When the ?Naturals? of MC agreed to perform, everything seemed to be coming together. The manager of Kinko?s also agreed to sponsor us and offer us discount on any work be done. Invitations for the event were created and mailed out to various civic groups and companies. Flowers, decorations and sound system were taken care of. There was a multitude of volunteers from local civic groups that really helped out. After Bernie Ebbers agreed to become spokesperson, it looked like the event would have an amazing turnout.

I decided that everyone in our PR group should volunteer at least twice a month on the weekends to get to know everyone one at Meals-on-Wheels. This is when we met Horace Goodman. Mr. Goodman, who is 63 years old and oxygen-dependent, continued to deliver over 1000 meals a year. He truly proved to be an inspiration to us as well as the public. He was the major stimulus for Susan Bartley to write the feature stories in The Clarion Ledger. A news release featuring him as Volunteer of the Year is released.

A press kit is assembled for the press conference announcing Bernie Ebbers, CEO of MCI/WorldCom as spokesperson for Meals on Wheels. Horace Goodman as Volunteer of the Year was also announced. Contents of the press kit might include a copy of the news release, a brochure about Meals on Wheels, copy of feature story in Clarion Ledger, and a volunteer sign-up sheet.

A public service announcement on the radio informed listeners that companies and civic groups that their employees can join our Meals-on-Wheels ?Adopt a Route Program?. Just two hours during lunch, and two employees with access to a vehicle, are all it takes to get started. The frequency of participation is tailored to fit the company?s operations. The public service announcement would also seek volunteers for weekends.

Kathy Bates, Meals-on-Wheels coordinator, expressed genuine appreciation at the success of the fundraiser. She also expressed a willingness to use us in the future. It made us feel good about ourselves to know we helped Meals-on-Wheels to achieve their overall strategy: to help seniors remain independent members of society.