Rotary International launched its 4th annual World Polio Day campaign with one goal in mind: to create a global day of awareness highlighting collective efforts to end polio.
Rotary's campaign to eradicate polio began in 1985 when the disease was rampant in 125 countries. Since then, Rotary and its partners have made significant progress, reducing case counts from over 350,000 in 1988 to just 37 -- in only three countries -- in 2016. Polio could be the second human disease ever to be eradicated.
Rotary is determined to ensure that no child suffers from this vaccine-preventable disease. Even though we recorded the fewest cases ever last year, to complete the job, sustained surveillance and immunization activities will be necessary for at least three years after the last case is reported. Rotary is committed to communicating the need for continued financial support -- which will require an additional $1.5 billion worth of funding.-- and raising public awareness of how individuals can contribute to or champion the effort to end polio.
We used World Polio Day as a key activation milestone to engage audiences and partner organizations with a live streamed event, which was promoted almost exclusively via social media channels
Rotary developed a strategic social and digital media campaign for World Polio Day aimed at increasing awareness and interest in polio eradication by:
1. Building awareness about the importance and need for polio eradication.
2. Creating shareable content to engage diverse audiences in eight languages and across 30 social and digital channels.
3. Educating global media on the role Rotary has played in mobilizing support for polio eradication, using multiple social and digital platforms.
4. Inspiring Rotary clubs to produce local events to raise awareness and showcase how members have contributed to ending polio.
On October 24, 2016, Rotary hosted a World Polio Day event at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), featuring inspiring speakers such as Rotary President John Germ, Paralympian Dennis Ogbe, TIME magazine editor Jeffery Kluger, What's Trending co-founder Shira Lazar, Today Show correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, and CDC Director Tom Frieden. The event, livestreamed across Facebook, endpolio.org, Periscope and YouTube, celebrated how far Rotary and partners have come in the fight to eradicate polio and reinforced the work yet to be done to combat the disease.
Offered in eight languages, Rotary's owned channels coordinated activities to deliver integrated messages to a global audience. Paid advertising was used across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Rotary created specialized content for World Polio Day, including a public-facing communications toolkit, compelling photo galleries, and promotional videos. The toolkit was promoted to Rotary's 1.2 million members and other supporters. Graphics containing event information were available in eight languages to increase our communication footprint. Separate resource toolkits were sent to celebrity ambassadors and partner organizations in advance of the event to amplify our messaging.
Using promotional materials and social media, Rotary encouraged followers to plan local World Polio Day events and register them at endpolio.org. This enabled us to create a global drumbeat for the organization while building strong user-generated content from the final 1,400 registered events.
We worked directly with Facebook to maximize the live event. Rotary did a takeover of the Nonprofits on Facebook page, executing 12 posts over 36 hours. Celebs on Facebook also shared Rotary's "This Close" PSA.
Rotary hosted a pre-briefing at the CDC for media attendees featuring a panel of experts including Dr. Tom Frieden, John Germ, Reza Hossaini, and Dennis Ogbe. We livestreamed the briefing on the CDC's website and Facebook Live.
Our media partner APlus helped Rotary reach a new, highly engaged audience. APlus interviewed Dennis Ogbe on Facebook Live. Aside from promoting the event across their owned channels, APlus moderated a Twitter chat "What's Next in Global Health", in which Rotary's vaccine partners participated.
By every measure, World Polio Day 2016 was a success.