The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast is a regional branch of a national non-profit. The organization falls under the umbrella of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, however, they are responsible for their own fundraising. Their own public relations and media coverage was vital to their success.
Letting the public at large know of the programs offered by The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast had always been a challenge for the organization.
They had been trying to get media coverage for two years, but despite having interesting stories to tell and a worthwhile subject matter, their press releases never got any pick up. The staff at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast were about to give up on media coverage altogether.
JoTo PR took over the publicity for the BGCS and decided the best way to keep the non-profit in the public eye would be by informational stories to the press on what the organization was up to. This included everything from their summer reading program, to their annual fundraising gala to a student-created music video to raise funds for fallen police officers to announcing their new CEO.
Just as the BGCS was starting to gain ground on their public relations image, the North Greenwood Club in Clearwater was robbed over the 4th of July weekend, 2010. Their computers, televisions, Wii system and children games were stolen; the petty criminal even stopped as low as pilfering the children’s snacks.
To combat the unfortunate incident, JoTo launched an aggressive media campaign to be the first to break the story, and forward a callto-action for the community to help in replacing the items.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast has been receiving consistent coverage in every major local media outlet since JoTo took over their PR campaign.
In addition, the specific robbery story was picked up by all of the major news channels in the area and the St. Petersburg Times. Because of the media exposure, the charity received thousands of dollars in donations, enough to replace the stolen items and put security measures in place to protect the club’s premises. Major community players, including the Tampa Bay Rays, the Sandpearl Resort and Best Buy, stepped up to the plate and helped the BGCS in their time of need. This was a direct response to the media coverage.
“Most people have heard of Boys & Girls Clubs and probably recognize our logo, but most don’t really know what we do. With JoTo we have been able to get our story (stories) out in the media increasing our visibility and our fundraising opportunities.”
– C. Mattern, former Director of Resource Development Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast
About the Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America movement came to Pinellas County
in November 1959 with the founding of the Boys Club of Pinellas Park by Police Chief Maurice L. MacTarsney and Margaret “Peg” Nunn. The Club began operating in January 1960 in an old frame building leased from the City of Pinellas Park with its 1st executive director, James S Hart Jr. The Boys Clubs of Pinellas, Inc. was chartered in August 1967 when its second club opened at the Northside location in St. Petersburg. In May 1970, at the urging of both the United Way and the Boys Clubs of America, the Boys Clubs of Pinellas County, Inc. was organized.
In 1991, the Boys Clubs of Pinellas County opened its programs to all youth, forming Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast (BGCS), as we know it today, now with eleven locations. BGCS under the leadership of Carl R. Lavender, Jr. has the goal “to influence the behavior and the attitudes of each individual boy and girl in a wholesome manner.” The sole purpose of BGCS is to provide children, youth, their families and the community opportunities for safe, structured, well supervised after school and summer youth programs, with an emphasis on leadership, education and self sufficiency. The organization has proven its commitment to service for children and community members with innovative and progressive programming and opportunities. Supporters of Boys & Girls Clubs include government politicians, law enforcement agency representatives, financial institutions, and education boards, among other concerned citizens.
To find out more or to help, visit http://www.bgcsun.org.