Thursday, April 28, 2016

Commons Campaign: "Lives In Lincoln"

Lives In Lincoln Portfolio
Briana Hammerstrom, John Bock, Weston Huerstel, and Cash Minx

Rhetorical Situation and Analysis:
There is an issue with a lack of awareness of nonprofit organizations on campus and in the city of Lincoln. Many students are unaware of how to get involved, volunteer, and how to donate to local nonprofits. With their busy schedules and typically lower income, the emotional connection to these organizations was lacking as well. We chose to approach the issue with a movement called “Lives in Lincoln.” It has a simple mission: to showcase nonprofit organizations in Lincoln by telling their stories, and to let people know easy ways that they can help. Inspired by the popular “Humans of New York” website and movement, “Lives In Lincoln” aims to take the similar storytelling format but focus solely on local nonprofit organizations and how we as citizens and a community can help. Because college students and millennials are intrigued by visually pleasing and emotional, “real” content, “Lives In Lincoln” will effectively reach our target audience. Each spotlighted organization will show the importance that that particular organization has for our community. The story will inform readers on ways to help donate and how to volunteer in order to better our campus and our community.

The five rhetorical canons:
  • For the rhetorical canon of invention, we have envisioned and created a system that not only raises awareness about nonprofit organizations around Lincoln, but also one through which people can donate to the various causes that they support. This is inventive in that we will prove to audiences why it is necessary for a donation, and will create involvement that was not previously there. Our engagements on social media prove that we transformed the way our audience engages with nonprofits, as it is obvious that most people haven’t heard the personal stories from those organizations. Our coverage of The Bay resulted in Mike Smith, a professional skateboarder that tours the country as a motivational speaker, sharing our post about the nonprofit. We substantially increased the social media reach that nonprofits usually get.
  • Our arrangement and structure was presented through personalizing the experience for those who want to donate by giving the organizations the spotlight on social media and the blog that we created. Although social media is our main platform, we are also forging relationships with the nonprofits themselves by meeting with them in person and photographing our experiences. Once the organizations are showcased on social media, people are able to view them and choose which ones they would like to donate to. Online social media engagement was our medium to connect to our audience that was previously unfamiliar with the nonprofit that was written about.
  • The project is stylized in a way that gains audience’s attention with high quality pictures and meaningful quotes by the people we interviewed. The blog that we post our stories on is an easy to navigate website and is extremely clean and all around enjoyable to look at. By keeping our online presence as least intrusive as possible, we invite people to read our intriguing stories rather than flooding their social media timelines with meaningless content.
  • The memorability of our campaign comes from the honest, unapologetic quotes that show authenticity within our content. Given the emphasis on social media, our audience is able to share the content easily which proves that people are engaging with the stories that we’re producing. Some Facebook users, such as Mike Smith, shared our stories with additional comments which generates a kind of replication of our project.
  • Through efficient and clean-cut delivery, “Lives In Lincoln” displays technical excellence in design, publishing, and format. The fitting response that our audience engages in is choosing to donate or volunteer through the simple ways we provide them via the email address, links, and comments section.

What We Did:
We printed off flyers to put around campus, created a website, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account, with all of the outlets contained our logo and mission statement. These became our platforms to spotlight the nonprofits and to easily spread awareness through sharing, liking and commenting. We then interviewed multiple nonprofits, asking them questions varying from basic organization information to the most impactful experience they have personally had through their involvement. Knowing that millennials and college students like visually pleasing photos and quotes, we created specific Facebook/Instagram posts compiled of mostly emotional and personal quotes from our interviewee. We then wrote a full blog post on the website complete with more information on the nonprofit and their values. We provided readers with links to the organization and easy ways to get involved and donate, and even created a “Lives In Lincoln” email account where people are encouraged to send in nonprofits they feel deserve to be spotlighted or ask us more on how to get involved.
Since “Lives In Lincoln” has been a dream of one of our team member’s for some time, we designed this movement to outlive this class project. We have taken the time to interview multiple organizations and build relationships so that “Lives In Lincoln” will continue to have great content to post throughout this summer and beyond. One group member has aspirations to continue the movement throughout her remaining college years in Lincoln, which will hopefully increase awareness of nonprofits in our community and university.






Overall, our “Lives in Lincoln” commons campaign was a success. We met with numerous nonprofit organizations around Lincoln and learned a lot about what they do and how we could give them a platform to get more people involved. All of our interactions went very smoothly, and our face-to-face meetings and interactions were among our most successful endeavors during the campaign. People were genuinely excited to meet with us and to help us spread the word. This gave us a sense that our efforts would be well-received by the community at large and that their effects would be long lasting. Another goal that we reached during the campaign was gaining publicity through social media. Our Facebook page gained over 100 likes in the first week it was launched, and was also given shout outs by well known nonprofit organizations. Since the local nonprofit community is tight-knit and smaller, word spread quickly and we found the people we contacted for possible interviews already knew what “Lives In Lincoln” was and were excited for us to stop by.
In hindsight one area that we could had more success in was the organization of tasks and delegation of roles to group members. We had issues sticking to the timeline that we set at the beginning of the project due to conflicting schedules, previously unknown events popping up, and nonprofits waiting to respond to us. Looking back, we should have laid out our schedules and coordinated everything we needed to do in more detail. This would have been very beneficial in that each member would have had a clear outlook on what needed to be done and when. Sticking to the timeline would have allowed us to give the nonprofits exact dates as to when they could expect to see their spotlight, which would have been more professional and efficient. Our group learned a great deal about what goes into nonprofits here in Lincoln. We know that the stories we shared educated our audience and presented an opportunity to get involved and positively influence the Lincoln community.

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