Each year, the Goldhirsh Foundation funds the LA2050 Grants Challenge, a democratic funding process to make Los Angeles the best place to play, live, create, connect, and learn. The Goldhirsh Foundation pledges $1,000,000 for grant funding and leverages additional funding from partners such as the Annenberg Foundation, Snap Foundation, and others. For each iteration of the grants challenge, LA2050 creates a theme with accompanying design assets to encourage Angelenos to vote and then have organizations apply for funding.
This year, the LA2050 Grants Challenge theme was “We Care About LA.” This year, different than years past, LA2050 asked the public to vote on the issues that matter most to them, which would in turn become the funding priorities for the Grants Challenge. In order to convey the different issue areas that Angelenos could vote for, LA2050’s designer worked on many different assets, including this animation video.
The visual elements of the animation took our metrics and brought them to life. Used during the voting process of the Grants Challenge, the animation was spread far and wide using our newsletter, social media accounts, and direct email GOTV. The goal was to inspire Angelenos to think about what issues matter the most to them, what issues they could fund if given the opportunity, and to vote online in the LA2050 Grants Challenge.
One of the best ways to introduce people to the LA2050 Grants Challenge and garner applications is through digital channels and social media. Especially because of COVID-19, many in-person GOTV events that our team would put on in previous years are not viable due to the volatility of COVID-19 and people’s appetite for in-person events. This means that our digital assets had to be stronger than ever in order to capture people’s attention and generate excitement about the grants challenge.
This year, we changed the way that voting in the Grants Challenge transpires. In years past, organizations apply for funding, and the top 25 finalists go up for a public vote to determine the winner of the larger $50,000 and $100,000 grants. This year, in order to take the burden off of the submitters, we decided to begin with a public vote on issue areas, and the top-voted issue areas became our funding priorities where we solicited applications targeted at these issues.
In order to communicate this change, we knew that we needed a digital presence that showcased this year’s theme, “We Care About LA” and showed Angelenos the importance of voting in this year’s grants challenge, allowing them to determine how we are granting almost $2 million dollars.
The animation that we submitted was a key part of our digital presence during the Grants Challenge. Our Design Fellow created this animation to show Angelenos some of the issues that were up to vote in this year’s Grants Challenge. We opted to keep it short, just around 30 seconds, in order to maintain audience engagement on social media.
The animation was distributed through our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts as well as via our newsletter, overall reaching ~100,000 people. The animation solidified LA2050’s brand and message for this year with many people that have been following us for years and are used to a different type of Grants Challenge. Ultimately, it was a key messaging tool to get the word out about the Grants Challenge, delivering us 60,000+ votes.
The result of the creation of this animation, in tandem with our “We Care About LA” theme and assets, we were able to have 8,000 people cast over 60,000 votes in the 2022 LA2050 Grants Challenge. Through the input of Angelenos, LA2050 ended up with ten top-voted issues, from “housing and homelessness” to “public transportation.” When grant applications opened, we received a record-shattering amount of applications for funding, 480 as opposed to our previous record of 320 applications.
Ultimately, our mission was to spread the word and excitement about the Grants Challenge, and to get Angelenos thinking about what is important to them. We consider this a success given the number of votes and applications received, personal feedback, and a recent win of a “Telly Award” for our animation video. The animation was able to take the fun-spirited energy of the grants challenge and merge it with the serious issues that Angelenos care about and impact them every day. This alone is a success.
When first conceptualizing this year’s grants challenge, we knew that we wanted to do something different with our design elements to pair with the new rules of the grants challenge. Even though we are a team of less than five full-time employees and a few part-time fellows, we knew that our ability to communicate about the Grants Challenge relied on digital GOTV through emails and social media. Our animation video was able to maintain people’s attention online and communicate the different areas up for vote.