Inspiring Stakeholders

Inspiring Stakeholders

The Vera Institute of Justice was throwing their annual fundraising gala and wanted to produce a video for the event. We noted that previous videos focused on the issue, versus the staff of Vera who come to work every day because of their passion and commitment to reducing mass incarceration. We wanted gala attendees to feel good about the people behind the organization in which they were investing. So we asked the staff to tell us about their dreams—both those that came to them while they were sleeping as well as their dreams for what the world could look like as a result of their work. “The unifying feature of people who work at Vera is that they’re hopeful; they believe that we can change things.”

The video was co-directed by our Creative Director, David Wilson, and Kristi Jacobson, who recently directed SOLITARY, an unprecedented portrait of life inside a supermax prison.

We are please to continue to work with Vera, including a community-based storytelling project to share the outcomes of research conducted by their New Orleans office regarding the impact of the court fines and fees system in that city.

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Building Networks

Building Networks

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wanted to pursue a new area of funding in which they did not have a great deal of experience. So, before releasing a Call for Proposals (CFP), Aggregate identified and engaged influencers who could help them reach new communities to inform their funding strategy and build trust for the foundation among those working in the field. Throughout the process, we served as the program officer’s coach, helping her build her online network and to share timely and transparent updates. The process contributed to establishing the program officer as a credible thought leader and led to new relationships and opportunities well before the CFP was released. When it was released, the CFP generated a level of interest unprecedented by past CFPs issued by the foundation.

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Connecting Science to the Street

Connecting Science to the Street

The Cure Violence model gained national prominence as the topic of Steve James’ powerful documentary, THE INTERRUPTERS. But what makes the model truly disruptive—founder Gary Slutkin’s approach to treat violence as a communicable disease—was not as well known. The client asked us to produce a video that would “connect the science to the street.” Using an observational documentary approach and animated graphics, we produced a video that highlighted the theory and science that serves as the foundation for Cure Violence and supplemented it with testimony from those who can confidently say it works: policy makers, ER doctors, the police, independent evaluators, community members, and the “interrupters” themselves.

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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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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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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.