In 2019, there was an estimated 15 million American children living in poverty. As a result, school supplies are hard to come by, making learning in the classroom challenging. Moreover, 99% of teachers purchased school supplies with personal funds last year, solidifying the need for classrooms and students to have even the most basic of supplies. This can make a world of different to students’ learning success. At Effectv, we believe that every child deserves a quality education complemented by the tools needed to learn successfully. The kids of today are the future leaders of tomorrow!
Giving back to communities is in our DNA. As the TV advertising sales division of Comcast, Effectv (formerly Comcast Spotlight) services local and regional businesses. We know the value of community. After all, Effectv employs over 3,000 team members throughout nearly 150 offices across the country—from smaller markets like Hattiesburg, Mississippi to bigger markets like Chicago, IL.
To help build up the communities that we serve and advance youth education, we partnered with the Kids in Need Foundation to provide school supplies for elementary school students from disadvantaged backgrounds. As we partnered with them the previous year, our goal for this year was to grow the program by helping even more students than ever before. Additionally, we set out to empower our own employees to lift up the students in their own communities. As giving back is a core tenet of Effectv, we wanted to spur employee action through our cause initiatives.
To help support youth education, we partnered with the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF), as they are a nationally recognized non-profit organization doing amazing work for disadvantaged kids. As the first step in our partnership, we laid out the core of our giving initiative for the 2019 back-to-school season. We planned to give out backpacks filled with school supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, and more to elementary school students who need it most. Additionally, we would include a pamphlet for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program in the backpacks; the program provides low-cost internet access to financially disadvantaged families. Last, every backpack would contain a handwritten note from an Effectv employee, with a positive message meant to inspire children for the upcoming school year.
Next, we identified the elementary schools we would be donating the backpacks to. Because this was the second year in a row that we partnered with KINF, we took careful strides to diversify the geographic areas we would activate from the previous year. We also made sure to pick schools that were located in our service areas, as a further extension of building up the communities we operate in and so employees could feel proud to help the very neighborhoods where they live and work. As a result, we picked six cities throughout our footprint: Miami, FL; Houston, TX; Seattle, WA; Richmond, VA; Detroit, MI; and Jersey City, NJ. We worked with KINF to select the schools in these cities where help was needed most; the chosen schools had a population where at least 70% of students qualified for free or reduced-priced lunch.
Afterwards, while KINF put together the backpacks and school supplies, we started engaging employees to sign the note cards that would also go in each backpack. In the local Effectv office of each of the six corresponding cities, we held a lunch party, where employees could gather and mingle, eat pizza and snacks, and sign as many note cards as they wished. This was a great team-building activity that offered ways for employees to give back to their communities. Cards were signed with inspirational messages such as, “You can achieve anything you set your mind to,” “Today is a great day to learn something new,” and “Cheers to a great school year!” Each card was further designed with bright colors, drawings, and stickers. The completed cards were all then shipped to KINF for inclusion in the backpacks.
Once the backpacks were built and shipped to the schools, it was time to hand them out to the eager, excited students! Distribution occurred during a pre-selected day designated by the school – whether it was a pre-start-of-school orientation day or the actual first day of classes. At each school, four to six Effectv employees were on site to personally hand out the backpacks. In the words of one employee, “It was so amazing to see the positivity and excitement from these students. They were genuinely so appreciative for the backpacks and for us to be there.”
Our Backpacks for a Bright Future program was a resounding success. As a result of the program, 2,800 elementary school students from disadvantaged backgrounds were gifted with the backpacks and school supplies, up from the 2,600 students served from our activation the previous year. Additionally, we executed donations in six schools this year, as opposed to the five schools from the previous year, effectively growing the program year-over-year.
Furthermore, 250+ employees collectively from the six offices participated in signing cards and/or handing out the backpacks on site. At each office, we received overwhelming gratitude from employees for the opportunity to be part of a community giving initiative, as well as the desire to continue do similar programs in the future.
To externally spread the message of giving, members of the press were invited to each school to cover the distribution. As a result, multiple segments ran on affiliate local news stations, including WABC/ABC 7 (46,149 local market viewership), WRIC/ABC 8 (11,165), WTVR/CBS 6 (42,778), WRLH/FOX (2,896), and WTVR/CBS 6 (22,299).
Finally, pictures from the event along with a one-minute video recap were also promoted via Effectv’s social media channels, where they performed extremely well. These posts collectively garnered nearly 1,000 engagements across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, generating over 20,000 impressions. On Social Agents, our internal social platform that provides employees with pre-created content to easily share across their own personal social channels, the posts were promoted by close to 500 employees, racking up 70,000 impressions.