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An In-Depth Look at 2017 All Media Contest Winner: Meals on Wheels

Association Trends’ All Media Contest honors, YOU, the marketing professional within an association who has worked hard all year long to help strengthen and grow your organization in the most creative and innovative ways. Every year, we are blown away by the quality entries we receive and 2017 was no different. With almost 300 entries, we saw the very best of the best in the association space.

Meals on Wheels not only won Gold for Best CD, Video, Podcast, or PSA but also won the 2017 Publisher’s Choice Award which is given to an entry that exceeds expectations and shines among all entries. We decided to take a deeper look at their achievement and created a case study based on their challenge, their action, and their amazing results.

Name of organization: Meals on Wheels

Challenge: The release of the President’s skinny budget proposal in March 2017 included a strong threat to Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Meals on Wheels funding and set into motion a wave of press attention and significant public outcry. With that, the issue was thrust into the national spotlight, and Meals on Wheels America used that as the foundation for #SaveLunch – a nationwide, multi-channel advocacy campaign.

Our goal was to mobilize the Meals on Wheels network and the general public to pressure Congress to protect and increase funding during the FY 2018 appropriations process. We aimed to drive offline action through online engagement.

Action: We needed to make the issue personal and we knew that video was likely the most compelling way to reach our audience on social media. The issue is complex and needed to be illustrated simply.

We were so lucky to find Carol – a Meals on Wheels client living in Whitehall, PA – to provide a face to the important funding decisions that put millions of seniors at risk. Carol joined the nationwide Meals on Wheels network to appeal directly to Congress to #SaveLunch by protecting the critical federal funding sources upon which 8 out of 10 local Meals on Wheels programs rely.

Our goal was to keep the plea above the political fray, as we know senior hunger and isolation should not be partisan issues. In total, the PSA was viewed more than 331,000 times on Facebook.

Outcome: Local Meals on Wheels programs, senior recipients, Members of Congress, celebrities, concerned citizens and supporters all across the country took significant action as a result of the #SaveLunch campaign. #SaveLunch prompted more than 50 meal deliveries with Member of Congress on both sides of the aisle and the Meals on Wheels programs in their respective states and districts. Throughout the campaign, thousands of advocates took action by sending nearly 5,000 emails calling for the protection and increase of funding for Meals on Wheels. These messages directly reached 99% of all Members of Congress. We also collaborated with Care2 on a petition that generated nearly 100,000 signatures that we delivered to the President.

After many stopgap spending bills and more than a year of nonstop pressure, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which turned the significant threat of a budget cut into a $59 million increase for the Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Program, which supports funding for Meals on Wheels, in FY 2018. This represented one of the largest appropriations increases in the history of the OAA Nutrition Program. This momentum continued as the President recently approved an additional $10 million increase for FY 2019.

While we’re still far from the total funding levels needed to fully close the gap between seniors in need of Meals on Wheels and seniors served, this funding increase marked a positive step in the right direction, and the #SaveLunch campaign was key to this success.

Congratulations again to Meals on Wheels! Click here to view their award-winning entry.

Did you create a unique marketing piece that you want to show off? Submit your media piece in the most watched and respected communications contest in the association community. With 23 categories to choose from, there’s something for everyone! If selected a winner, you will be honored live at the 40th Salute to Association Excellence in Washington, DC in front of 500 association and nonprofit peers.

Don’t wait to enter! The early bird rate ends October 31st. Not quite ready to submit? That’s okay! You do not have to submit your finalized piece at that time, you can simply register and pay the early bird rate, then just make sure to send your entries in before December 10th. Enter today and show us what you’ve got!

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