How We Helped Communities In Schools of Michigan Forward Their Mission

 In Our Work

Early this year, we met with Jeff Brown, Director of Communities In Schools of Michigan (CIS MI), as the first step in an exciting new project.  CIS MI is part of the national nonprofit Communities In Schools. Its mission is to change the lives of students by using a proven model to decrease dropout rates and increase graduation rates. Our team at Change Media Group has worked with a number of nonprofits over the years, but this project was especially inspiring and fun to manage.

CIS MI was planning their first ever Leadership In Education Dinner, where they would award two honorees who demonstrated exceptional leadership in the field of education. Ron Bieber, President of Michigan AFL-CIO, and Kellie Dean, President and CEO of Dean Transportation, were the inaugural recipients. Our challenge was to help the CIS MI team share their mission with the Greater Lansing community and leverage digital to promote their event without breaking the bank.

Direct Mail

First, we turned to traditional print invitations to reach community members and likely targets who would be interested in attending. We designed fun and inviting cards to match CIS MI’s national branding guidelines. We also included an informational insert about CIS MI’s model, reply card, and return envelope inside for people to RSVP and mail in their ticket payments or donations. We donated our work on all of these print pieces as an in-kind sponsor for the event.

Online Advertising

As people were receiving invitations in their mailboxes, they were also receiving invites in their inboxes and reminders to attend on Facebook. By matching the mail list into Facebook, we were able to narrow in on the same targets online and keep the event top of mind for them.

We created an Eventbrite page where people could easily click through from the ad to purchase tickets. The Eventbrite page offered multiple purchase options as well—sponsors could purchase whole tables, and even people who couldn’t make it could still donate to CIS MI. We also ran an email campaign to reinforce the event through a third channel and promote CIS MI’s mission in the process.

Event Materials

For the day of the event, we created a dinner program highlighting the honorees, the list of sponsors, and the agenda. We also designed sponsor boards, which were on display throughout the banquet room and listed the sponsors by level of donation.

Overall, Communities In Schools of Michigan was a great organization to work with, and the dinner was a huge success. A few of our team members were able to attend and see the whole event come together from start to finish, which is always rewarding! Our work helped drive attendance and exceed CIS MI’s donation goals for the event, which speaks to the value of employing a multichannel marketing approach to spread a powerful cause!


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Haley Dalian is CMG’s Organizer of Words & People. Haley manages the moving parts of many projects from start to finish by coordinating internal and external communications. She helps bring clients’ ideas to life through persuasive writing and engaging advertising. With a sharp eye for detail and intuition for language, Haley specializes in creating and editing content at all project stages.

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