WestCare was founded just over 40 years ago in Las Vegas with the goal of treating individuals and making its slogan a reality: “Uplifting the Human Spirit.” Since its inception, the non-profit organization has grown to more than 100 locations in 16 U.S. States, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Pacific Islands headquartered in Guam. Among WestCare’s services are: Mental & behavioral health services; homeless programs; residential treatment facilities for alcoholism and drug addictions; Veterans efforts; women and children’s programs, including those involving human trafficking; and transitional living services. WestCare also provides community triage centers and correctional facility programs in many of the states it serves. The non-profit also was experiencing a sense of separation with its national offices and facilities being isolated from one another. During its 40th anniversary in 2013, WestCare retained The Ferraro Group to develop a campaign to bring together WestCare staff in an engaging and creative internal communications campaign.
To creatively engage WestCare staff and bring together employees, volunteers, alumni and Veterans, The Ferraro Group developed a two-fold campaign. The plan was to unite the WestCare team in a fun fashion — both in a grassroots strategy in Las Vegas and in an online strategy that involved all the WestCare offices in the nation. The campaigns developed were:
(1) “Will Work For…” — this involved the making of more than 50 cardboard signs, similar to those that the homeless hold on street corners. With handwritten bold lettering on each sign, WestCare’s services were announced on each piece of cardboard. Examples included: “Will Work for the Homeless;” “Will Work for Victims of Sexual Abuse;” “Will Work for Families in Crisis;” “Will Work for Our Veterans;” “Will Work to Uplift the Human Spirit.” By developing this program — which included creating an outline for the day, an intersection list, volunteer assignments, talking points, and hosting an after-party with dignitaries — WestCare employees enthusiastically worked together to greet and educate passing motorists at busy intersections. The staff also became better acquainted with each other and the services offered by WestCare. WestCare executives and legislative representatives also extended their appreciation at the after-event, showing goodwill and gratitude to the employees and volunteers.
(2) “WestCare Cares” — to mark its 40th anniversary, we worked with the WestCare communications team to develop a “40 Days” online campaign that was targeted at the hundreds of WestCare employees throughout the nation. Each day for 40 days, each WestCare employee would receive a morning e-mail/e-blast that included weekly themes on WestCare services, videos from the CEO, photo competitions, WestCare Bear & Gift Card Giveaways, employee spotlights, and articles to educate the staff on WestCare happenings, programs and services.
Our goal with the two PR campaigns was to enlighten, engage and educate the WestCare staff, while allowing them to interact, be entertained and truly understand the company’s slogan, “uplifting the human spirit.” Our objective was to link offices nationwide together on a common ground and to positively influence and unite 50 Las Vegas WestCare members. The measurable result has allowed us to embark on this campaign annually, including creating toolkits for other markets to follow.
Working as a team with WestCare, we implemented our plans on both fronts successfully. In the “Will Work For” activity, more than 50 volunteers were perched on corners of the six busiest intersections throughout Las Vegas. Some of the volunteers had previously gone though WestCare programs. The team donned WestCare T-shirts, held signs, talked with motorists and distributed WestCare information. The after-event at a local park allowed the participating individuals to become better acquainted with one another, and enjoy time together with food, drinks and honors from local legislative offices, including the governor’s office. The WestCare teams cheered, honored their meaningful work in helping others, and listened intently to WestCare executives as they praised them for their hard work and dedication. In further efforts, we created a media alert to invite out media and provided media training tips to staff in case reporters showed up at their assigned intersections. Fox 5 News covered the event.
An employee survey was created following the campaigns to engage involvement and feedback. Questions were developed, and overall responses were positive. WestCare executives were pleased with the responses and requested to continue the programs on an ongoing basis in additional markets.