james4HcampYouth organization “needles” stakeholders with a non-traditional outreach campaign

When this youth development organization approached me about an outreach campaign to educate friends about their statewide youth camp, it was important to take a personal approach that stood out from other communications, yet cost very little. Rather than a mass-mailing, they wanted to connect with a limited number of stakeholders, face to face.

The last thing we wanted to do was splurge on a glitzy print campaign, so we worked together to create a simple memento that money can’t buy: a breath of air straight from the camp attached to a frugally printed card that reads “The sweet smell of success is in the air.” The back of the card ties in with the message, “Allow us to needle you for your support.”

Interns and volunteers pitched in to help package a whiff of fresh air from the outdoor haven of friendship and hands-on learning that the camp offers to Arizona kids. They gathered fragrant pine and cedar needles from the 55-acre camp’s forests and filled small muslin bags, hand-decorated with rubber stamps.

The “Sweet Smell of Success” outreach effort was all about the importance of the life experiences that the camp offers. It’s a place where kids can learn responsibility, leadership and teamwork in a beautiful outdoor setting. Focusing on the intrinsic worth of those experiences seemed more appropriate than printing up a sheaf of paper that’s likely to go straight to the recycling bin.