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Shoes for Orphan Souls
Strategic Counsel/National Media Campaign
Lovell Public Relations has worked with Buckner Orphan Care International, a non-profit organization known primarily for its orphanages and adoption program, for the past three years to position and grow a new program. In 1999, Buckner assumed ownership of Shoes for Russian Souls. While the program collected shoes for Russian orphans, Buckner saw the potential to expand the program’s reach to other countries and sought Lovell Public Relations’ counsel.
The agency identified an opportunity for Buckner to partner with shopping malls during the back-to-school season, one of the busiest shopping times of the year. The campaign incorporated shoe drives to bring additional traffic to the mall, along with back-to-school advertising and promotional efforts to promote the shoe drives and back-to-school shopping. Lovell Public Relations recommended that Buckner test market the concept at a Dallas mall. The program’s first year was extremely successful, exceeding Buckner’s goal of securing 10,000 pairs of new shoes.
Lovell worked with Buckner to expand the program in its second year to seven malls and secured over 50,000 new pairs of shoes. In addition, because of the exposure provided by the malls, thousands of people in several new markets were introduced to the program, which led to additional support from other businesses, community groups and churches. In preparation for its third year of growing the program, Buckner set a goal of holding shoe drives in at least 300 cities nationwide. Lovell Public Relations launched a national media campaign to showcase the need for shoes.
To create national awareness of Shoes for Orphan Souls.
To expand the shoe drives to 300 cities.
To collect enough shoes to send to at least 20 countries.
Secured participation from 26 malls in different regions to provide space and collect shoes.
Developed an effective back-to-school campaign for the malls
Enlisted community groups to host shoe drives or provide volunteers.
Prepared a step-by-step planning guide for mall marketing managers and community group volunteers to coordinate local media efforts and shoe collections.
Coordinated local promotions with the mall marketing managers such as securing donated billboards and area transit boards, displaying in-mall signage, distributing flyers and brochures at mall stores and information booths, and holding kick-off publicity events at the malls.
Targeted trades and other national media with testimonials and personal stories.
Collected over 600,000 pairs of new shoes, thousands of socks and shoelaces, and over $250,000 in cash donations, with a total estimated value of over $9 million.
Received participation from over 500 community groups and churches in 33 states.
Increased Buckner’s humanitarian outreach to 21 countries.
Secured coverage on more than 40 TV affiliates as well as an interview on USA Radio Network, which was aired on 1,300 stations nationwide.
Secured coverage in local publications including The Dallas Morning News and The San Francisco Chronicle as well as articles in trade publications such as Footwear News, Corporate Philanthropy Report and Fundraising Management.
Generated additional corporate interest and support for 2002.
Initiated plans to launch an online celebrity shoe auction in 2003.
Recognized with a 2002 MAXI for excellence in marketing.
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Since 1999, Buckner Orphan Care International has distributed more than 600,000 pairs of shoes to orphans in more than 20 countries.