The Situation: A statewide nonprofit organization designed to help communities better prepare young children for kindergarten needed help reminding state legislators of their good work. The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation came to Touch Points with two goals:
• Continue focusing attention on the importance of investing in young children because they represent
the state's future workforce
• Have state lawmakers approve funding equal or greater than the previous level
Touch Points Immersion Included: The first step was to have the local early childhood coalitions calling and talking with legislators. Then on top of that, Touch Points recommended an OpEd campaign to call attention to the different agencies throughout Virginia that are using grant money awarded by the nonprofit organization to implement high-quality early learning programs and services. When published on the opinion pages of newspapers around the state, the OpEds would be read by key influencers, stakeholders and legislators who would impact the course of early childhood education in the Commonwealth.
Touch Points crafted several different versions of an OpEd containing important message points on early childhood education. We researched the OpEd requirements in every major market and made adjustments to the piece as needed for word count, originality, exclusivity and local information. Touch Points sent the OpEd to the various grantee agencies in Virginia so that the director could insert customized local information specific to the readership area of the local newspaper.
• Touch Points submitted and pitched 11 custom-written OpEds to 11 different daily publications in
Virginia from August through December that year.
• All 11 were printed in their entirety and most were placed above the fold on the Opinion Page.
• In March, the General Assembly again appropriated $2.5 million in funding for continuation of the
nonprofit's mission for another two years. In a tight economy when delegates were instructed to cut
expenses whenever possible, this was a strong endorsement of the organization's tireless efforts
on behalf of the state's youngest citizens.
• This successful OpEd campaign was recognized with an award at the Virginia Public Relations
Awards competition sponsored by the Richmond Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.