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 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. Through our work with the foundation, we 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 worked 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 included developing a decision tree to help the foundation determine when to launch a presence on a new social media platform, and creating 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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Recruiting Fellows

Recruiting Fellows

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri asked Aggregate to help them think through how they could better use their Fellowship program to explore issues that can improve the practice and understanding of journalism. While they had increased the number of applications due to other changes in their Fellowship program, they saw room for improvement in the projects the Fellows pursued and in the value they provided to the industry. After consulting with Institute staff and stakeholders and researching a wide range of fellowship programs, Aggregate presented our recommendations. In addition to changes to the application process, staffing, marketing, and the Institute’s relationship with the Fellows, we proposed ideas for how to engage the journalism industry in defining what ideas the Fellows would pursue. In response to our recommendations, Randy Picht, the Institute’s Executive Director shared, “I don’t usually hire consultants, but when I do, I only hire the very best.” Thanks, Randy.

Photo by Roger H. Goun.

Meeting Foundation Staff

Meeting Foundation Staff

Aggregate produced two brief videos to introduce potential grantees to the team at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation responsible for seeking out innovative ideas and reviewing unsolicited proposals. To reduce the number of proposals that would not be of interest to the foundation and to increase the number of truly innovative ideas being shared, we asked the program officers to talk about how they heard new ideas, what topics intrigued them most, and what they meant when they said something was “pioneering.”

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