#SAVEWITHSTORIES was developed in March 2020 in partnership with Save the Children Trustee Jennifer Garner and actor Amy Adams in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty million children in the United States rely on school not only for learning, but also for nutrition. Due to the pandemic, many kids were stuck at home without access to school meals, books and, in rural America, computers, broadband and even printouts. That’s why Save the Children launched #SAVEWITHSTORIES to raise awareness and funds for the millions of kids across America who were facing increased risks as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Garner and Adams – along with more than 275 actors, authors, musicians and everyday heroes – read America’s favorite children’s books on social media to provide a little fun, a little education and a little distraction for kids and parents. The campaign raised funds for Save the Children and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry coronavirus response, helping to make sure kids were receiving meals and continuing to learn despite unprecedented, nationwide school closures. All donations helped schools and community programs get the support they needed to keep bellies full and minds growing. Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company was a founding partner of #SAVEWITHSTORIES and secured numerous titles from its highly regarded library that were featured as part of the initiative. Hundreds of stories were read as part of the campaign and the series logged more than 100 million views.
At the start of the pandemic – longtime Save the Children Trustee and actor Jennifer Garner knew that thirty million children in the United States rely on school not only for learning, but also for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner. And almost immediately – she understood that the children, teachers and parents stuck at home without access to school meals, books and, in rural America, computers, broadband, or even printouts from schools that can’t afford paper and ink. – needed help. Urgently. In response, she helped Save the Children conceive the social media based campaign #SAVEWITHSTORIES in collaboration with her friend and fellow actor Amy Adams. The concept was for celebrities to read America’s favorite children’s books on social media, and ask for a $10 donation via text. Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company was a founding partner of #SAVEWITHSTORIES, securing numerous titles from its highly regarded library to be featured as part of the initiative.
The initiative also raised funds to provide remote learning and meals for out-of-school children enrolled in Save the Children’s programs and the communities where we work. All donations helped Save the Children and No Kid Hungry ensure schools and community programs had the support they needed to keep bellies full and minds growing.
Save the Children was one of the first organizations to raise public concern about the negative impacts of wide scale learning loss due to coronavirus- related school closures. By the second week of March 2020, we launched Coronavirus & Kids: Resources from Save the Children on Save the Children’s website, featuring educational content and resources for parents and kids. This positioned Save the Children as a “trusted Information provider” and early education expert.
The campaign, which was planned and launched over just one weekend (March 16- 18, 2020), was the first reading initiative of its kind in response to COVID- 19. Together, the campaign galvanized more than 275 actors, musicians and everyday heroes - including everyone from Drew Barrymore, Pink, Meghan Markle, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jimmy Fallon to Kamala Harris, Eva Chen and Steve Carell - to read stories on Instagram and Facebook, providing a positive distraction, a little education, and a lot of fun for kids and parents. In addition to Scholastic, a significant amount of book publishers large, medium and small – with the support of the entire publishing community inclusive of authors, illustrators and agents - generously agreed to grant rights to many of the world’s most beloved children’s titles.
#SAVEWITHSTORIES has been an outstanding success. It has raised awareness for Save the Children among new audiences in a way that both highlights the challenges children face in America due to COVID- 19 and positioned Save the Children as part of the solution. Highlights include:
The video series logged 104 million views and secured 259K followers to the new @SAVEWITHSTORIES Instagram account
· Publishers granted rights to over 230 titles read
· The campaign increased brand awareness for Save the Children by 20 percent year over year among our core target audience.
· Save the Children colleagues in 20 countries launched campaigns, driving brand awareness, engagement and funds in their markets – making #SAVEWITHSTORIES a global, inclusive phenomenon.
· #SAVEWITHSTORIES also inspired a sister campaign #SAVEWITHSPORTS, which has allowed for even more long-term impact and relationship building with high-profile athletes.
· This campaign required swift and flexible collaboration across teams, divisions, and organizations, while also working closely with Jennifer Garner and her team –in a matter of just days. #SAVEWITHSTORIES is a powerful example of how integrated and agile ways of working in the current environment in America and its media landscape can successfully deliver impact for the children who participate in our programs, as well as our organization’s strategic goal of being a trusted leader and resource on children’s issues.
In summary, we expanded the campaign in 20 countries, raised millions of dollars for our domestic COVID response, reached 1.1 million children and delivered 21 million meals.
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