Starting a Conversation

Starting a Conversation

Journalist David France had tremendous success with his first documentary, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, the story of the origins of the AIDS activist movement in New York and the work of ACT UP and its offshoot, the Treatment Action Group (TAG). That film was made, in part, because of the amazing archival footage France was uncovering while researching a book on the same topic.

When the book David France was writing was eventually published – four years later – he looked to Aggregate for help in generating word of mouth to encourage sales. Aggregate worked in partnership with France’s publisher (Knopf) to produce and socialize a series of iPhone camera videos of people – such as actors Jeffrey Wright and Alan Cumming and activist Peter Staley.

In the weeks and months following the 2016 Presidential election, we actively engaged in the online conversation about the resistance to the new administration, positioning HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE as a blueprint for creating a successful effort to pressure the government to change its policies.

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Mobilizing Supporters

Mobilizing Supporters

In the face of clinic closings and a climate of hostility toward women’s access to abortion, the Abortion Care Network (ACN) hired Aggregate to help the organization to understand how to grow and more effectively support their network of abortion care providers – and their allies.

What was clear from our discovery process was that ACN’s members and stakeholders believe that the organization makes a significant – and unique – contribution to the abortion care community. The challenge, however, is to ensure that a broader circle of abortion rights supporters – including funders and the media – understand the integral role that independent abortion care providers play and why they need to be supported in their work.

Every day independent abortion care providers are pushing the standard of care forward and boldly positioning themselves on the front lines of advocacy, all with the diverse and changing needs of their communities top of mind. These brave providers do all of this without the support that results from being affiliated with a larger abortion care provider. The Abortion Care Network exists to support that gap.

The primary purpose of the organizational and communications strategy Aggregate developed for ACN was to help them to focus their limited resources on what is most needed among the people and organizations they serve, and to more effectively call on and mobilize supporters to allow them to do so. It was a task that required Aggregate to develop a deep understanding of those ACN supports, those they need to reach and engage, as well as what motivates them to think and do what is needed to achieve the organization’s mission.

The photo is by Debra Sweet and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

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Educating Decision Makers

Educating Decision Makers

Through Justice Reinvestment, the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center uses a data driven approach to improve public safety, reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending, and reinvests those savings in strategies that can decrease crime and reduce recidivism. To be successful, the Justice Center must engage stakeholders, including state legislators and local media, that need to have the issues explained to them—jargon-free—in manner that appeals to their self interests. Aggregate worked with the Center to develop a communications strategy, message platform, and a simple graphic that explains the unique, thorough, and valuable process that they undertake—and which has led to significant cost savings and public safety improvements in multiple states.

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Scaling Social Norms

Scaling Social Norms

Many people believe that “scaling” is the same thing as growing, i.e., making an organization larger. But that’s not what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is seeking to do with their investments; they are seeking to create new social norms. When we were asked to produce a series of videos to explain this, Aggregate’s approach was to show what life would be like if these social norms were realized, by visiting locations where the foundation’s investments are already having an impact. And we decided to bring the program officers—those responsible for helping the grant recipients to define and realize their vision—along, taking them outside the walls of the foundation and directly to the people who are benefitting from their support of innovative solutions. We worked with Academy Award nominated filmmaker Sam Green (THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND) on these videos, who partnered with Aggregate’s David Wilson—an award-winning filmmaker himself—to co-direct the spots.

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Driving Outcome-Based Engagement

Driving Outcome-Based Engagement

The Connecticut Health Foundation hired Aggregate to conduct an audit of the Foundation’s social media engagement efforts. One of the conclusions of the audit was that the foundation had been successful in utilizing social media engagement as a strategy for brand building, but had not begun to use social media engagement strategically to support the achievement of program objectives. Doing so, Aggregate proposed, would—in addition to supporting the achievement of program objectives—increase understanding of the value of social media engagement among foundation staff members and, ultimately, their own engagement. Since then, we have worked with the foundation to develop and execute outcome driven strategies that have made social media engagement a more integral tool in their toolbox.

The photo is by florianric and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

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Defining Social Media Strategy

Defining Social Media Strategy

Aggregate works hand in hand with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Social Media Manager to guide the foundation’s use of social media. Our work began with an extensive audit of trends, viewpoints, and practices within the foundation to inform the creation of a social media strategy, which included guidelines for representing the foundation’s brand within social media, quantitative and qualitative metrics, and a peer-to-peer staff learning strategy. Additional work has included developing a decision tree to help the foundation determine when to launch a presence on a new social media platform, and developing and executing upon strategies to diversify the communities the foundation reaches and engages in its effort to build a Culture of Health.

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