THE 14TH ANNUAL SHORTY AWARDS

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# BeAWelcomer | Stories of Welcome

Entered in Storytelling

Objective

More people around the world have been forcibly displaced from their homelands than at any other point in history: 110 million people in 2023 alone. Over the last two years, the impact of the challenge has been felt more acutely in the U.S. with significant numbers of people seeking safety here following the fall of Kabul in 2021, Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, and increasing instability in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

We see the headlines, with images of people like us and families like ours, and often don’t know what to do or how to help. 

Welcome.US unleashes the power and potential of millions of Americans to welcome newcomer refugees and help them thrive — ushering in a systemic and cultural transformation to meet the urgent and increasing global displacement crisis.

By tapping into the willingness of the American people to welcome newcomers, we are building the national capacity and commitment to welcome many more. Our goal is to build an enduring movement of Welcomers by drawing everyday Americans into the work of welcoming newcomers, primarily through sponsorship.

Through the #BeAWelcomer campaign, Welcome.US utilizes the power of storytelling to inspire and empower everyday people to build a movement around welcoming as a collective identity and activate them to sponsor vulnerable refugees in need of safety, by providing clear and meaningful resources that make sponsorship possible.

Strategy

The #BeAWelcomer campaign's production strategy centered on an empathetic and thorough approach to storytelling, capturing the nuanced experiences of American sponsors and newcomers from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Haiti as they resettled in the United States. Recognizing the power of their stories, our team dedicated itself to visiting these individuals and families, engaging with them directly in their environments to document their stories with sensitivity, dignity and respect. This sensitivity ensured that the stories collected were told in a way that honored the individuals' courage and empowered them.

To reach diverse audiences, the #BeAWelcomer campaign deployed a variety of content types including photo series, video series, audio storytelling, and art, distributed through owned communication channels such as email newsletters, organic social media, web, live events, and paid advertising. 

We brought these stories into physical spaces by building house-like structures that were populated with photos, portraits of Welcomers and Newcomers, and resonant quotes about welcoming – highlighting stories we captured from across the country, representing all populations that we serve. These were displayed at the Welcome America Festival in Philadelphia for World Refugee Day 2023, and at Little Amal’s tour stop in Washington, D.C. The houses were meant to make attendees reflect on the meaning of home and how they can help those beginning their new lives in the U.S. Each story house was associated with a QR code to push visitors to a landing page to learn more about welcoming newcomers. 

This comprehensive production strategy—marked by its emphasis on ethical storytelling, high-quality content creation, and immersive experiences—ensured that the #BeAWelcomer campaign captured a broad spectrum of stories and maximized their impact.

Results

History is made by those who rise to the occasion and answer the call of compassion and empathy. 

While we celebrate our accomplishments together in the last year, we know that bringing more families to safety through sponsorship is more important now than ever.

We're continuously innovating the #BeAWelcomer campaign to inspire and empower more Americans throughout their sponsorship journeys. Together, we build bridges to safety and new beginnings.

“When you look back in history, we always wonder what we would have done. This is your chance to answer that question and make a difference.” - Marie, Sponsor

“Being a sponsor is about having a vision, having the vision for the future, and it's like the ripple effect, you help one person and then that person becomes resourceful and they can help others.” - Natasha, Sponsor

“We have found a new family here. We call them our American parents. They are our soulmates.” - Hyrhorri, Ukrainian newcomer

Media

Video for # BeAWelcomer | Stories of Welcome

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Soze, Welcome.US

Links

Entry Credits