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[Spread the Word to End the Word]
Presented in Partial Fulfillment
of Course Requirements of
PRL 468: Public Relations Campaigns
Course Director: Dr. Gael L. Cooper
[Amethyst Turner]
• • • • •
Department of Communications
University of Southern Indiana
Evansville, Indiana
[November 22, 2016]
Campaign Overview
This campaign is a stem off of the national campaign of Spread the Word to End the
Word for adults with intellectual disabilities. This written plan is to be used for the
University of Southern Indiana campus extension and their efforts of awareness in the
Evansville area as a local chapter. Best Buddies currently serves young adults (middle
school through college) with intellectual and developmental disabilities in gaining and
maintaining resources to live a productive life. The organization was founded in 1989,
and was the first of its kind to offer social and employment inclusion on a national level
(ADCIEO 2016). Studies show the following shocking statistics at the support the need
for Best Buddies:
Only 38% of disabled individuals had gainful employment as of 2004 Palo Alto
Medical Foundation 2015).
Discrimination often came from fear of the employer to accommodate (Disabled
World Towards Tomorrow 2015)
Nearly 386 million young adults are disabled (Disabled World Towards
Tomorrow, 2015)
Adults with disabilities are 3 times more likely to experience violence, abuse and
neglect (The ARC, 2016)
These statistics show that there is still a stigma of fear and being unequal for persons with
disabilities. Best Buddies is an organization that has worked to help relabel these
individuals within society and to help stop the spread of demeaning language when using
words such as retarded. This organization helps provide a network of friendships and
professional opportunities for these individuals.
Formative Research
Currently, the Best Buddies chapter of USI is at a unique starting point. They
have never before had someone to help do public relations/marketing work for the
organization. In turn, there is quite a bit that the organization is lacking in the form of
communications. The client has established the want for more participation from USI
students and for more clear and concise communication between all the members that are
involved. Currently, the information being sent out as reminders are not in any sort of
professional format. Messages being sent out are also inconsistent, and not always being
accomplished when needs arise.
In addition, one of Best Buddies main promotions each year, “Spread the Word to
End the Word” Awareness Day has not been able to accomplish the promotion goals
wanted by the organization and its members. It currently stands as one of the two main
promotion tools for the chapter. The second being the Best Buddies walk to raise annual
operation funds for the organization. This year the plan is for the organization to hold a
talent show to help raise awareness of the purpose of Best Buddies and hopefully, help
the participation levels of the organization and to produce the funds needed to keep the
organization running.
The USI chapter of Best Buddies desperately needs the participation of more
students. Currently, there are not even enough students stepping up to fill the needed
spots for the leadership team. Lack of awareness and internal communication is the
organizations biggest struggle, at the moment. Below is a chart that outlines the main
advantages and challenges facing the organization from a public relations perspective.
Has partnered with
organizations within the
Evansville area to increase
the participation of
individuals with intellectual
and developmental
Has connections to the
organization at a national
There is a low membership
fee ($10) for USI students
Currently the leadership
board only contains a faculty
advisor and a president.
Communication within the
organization to its members
is not consistent.
There has not been much
effort made in the past to
promote the organization to
its full potential.
Increase awareness across
USI campus
Increase community
involvement with USI
campus organizations
Improve the quality of life
for several adults with
intellectual and
developmental disabilities
Gives students leadership
and communication
opportunities employers like
to see
Lack of funding
Lack of resources
Stigmas related to working
with disabled people
Organizations such as
Bethesda pulling out of
Looking at the internal environment of the organization, right now the Best
Buddies chapter of USI does not have good visibility among USI students
although the chapter is credible. Most students do not recognize the name of
the organization by word of mouth- which is never a good sign. This is
especially true when Best Buddies has chapters across the United States, and
not just on USI’s campus. If someone does not even recognize the name of
the organization as big as Best Buddies, it is difficult to expect them to
realize its purpose and why it is important. There will also be skewed
perceptions of this organization because it is working alongside adults with
intellectual and developmental disabilities for their benefit. Not everyone is
going to be accepting of that. Because this is more of a unique demographic,
people need to be shown a little more why they care and how it can benefit
them for them to want to get involved.
This organization that has a unique purpose that can be used to its
advantage. We, as an organization, are here to serve the people. Best Buddies
is here to serve people. Best Buddies is here to serve a demographic that is
mostly forgotten and untouched. That means we have an opportunity to make
a lasting impact for years to come- and that is HUGE. The overall mission of
Best Buddies is to “establish a global volunteer movement that creates
opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and
leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental
disabilities.” What makes Best Buddies so unique is that it specifically
targets middle schools, high schools, and college campuses to be able to offer
these services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities
without separating them from the rest of the community and society.
Organizations like Best Buddies also focus on the long-term impact on the
individual instead of short term solutions.
The external environment for organizations like Best Buddies is
complicated. There are several organizations within the area such as
Bethesda Lutheran Communities, ARC, Home Instead, and others that offer
services to those with disabilities. Support comes from local hospitals,
churches and service groups to keep many of these organizations running.
The biggest competitors are those like Home Instead that offer services to
clients but often for a much larger fee. These organizations are often also
seen as competitors because they are more concerned about keep the
individual alive for their benefit, and not necessarily for the quality of the
client’s life. Organizations like Best Buddies are focused on growing the
individual as a person and not just their specific physical needs.
Internal Publics
External Publics
Middle school students
County (local non-profits,
healthcare facilities, etc.)
High school students
Best Buddies Alumni
Volunteers (current and
College Students
USI (the institution as a
Key publics are in red
The key publics in this organization are middle school, high school and college students
as well as volunteers and this chapters biggest sponsor, USI. Keeping students involved is
what makes Best Buddies possible. Without buddies, there is no program and without
USI, there is no place for the program to be. It is also important to remember the
caregivers and families of all the current and potential students as this is the avenue that
most of them can be involved. Lastly but not least, those who are now involved in the
community are important to remember. This can include local businesses alumni and
donors who call all help locally support the mission of USI Buddies in the Evansville
Goals and Objectives
To increase volunteers by 25 students by the start of the Spring Semester
To increase funding by $300 to meet yearly dues by March 1, 2016
To maintain and send out a monthly email newsletter
To maintain internal communications by email at least once bi-weekly throughout
each school year
Action and Response
a. Action Strategy:
Triggering Event Spread the Word to end the Word Talent Show
Use the talent show to promote Best Buddies and educate publics on
issues for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and need
for organizations like Best Buddies
Action Strategy: Sponsorship getting local businesses and groups
involved promotes a sense of an accepting community and allows Best
Buddies the monetary funds to carry out more functions.
b. Response Strategy:
Publicity- Use popular opinion influencers such as popular teachers, local
sports teams etc. in the area to help gain more credibility for the local USI
chapter of Best Buddies.
Transparent Communication- use educational tools such as testimonials
and data about life for young adults with disabilities to help enhance the
understanding of the need for Best Buddies
Example of another organization: Bethesda Lutheran Communities has
promoted their Prom for adults with intellectual and developmental
disabilities to share more about the organization and the needs of its
publics with great success. They have also gathered much support from
local celebrities such as Sandy Patty, Bill Gather, Carl Erskine, local
educators and more to help build local credibility.
Theories used: agenda setting theory- this theory essentially explains that
“the news tells us what to think about but not what to think.”
Effective Communication
Spokespersons to be used:
Dr. Tori Shoulders
Dr. Linda Bennett
Jessica Weir
In the effective communication of this campaign, it will be crucial to use proper
terminology when referring to persons with disabilities. Charts depicting proper
usage in Speech will be included in the Appendix B with flyer, email newsletter
examples etc.
Menu of Communication Tactics
a. Theme/Messages Spread the Word to End the Word
b. Action/Special Events Participate in Talent show to help raise funds for
Best Buddies
c. Controlled Media Flyers will be used, as well as newsletters and
intentional advertising such as tabling at involvement fairs.
d. Uncontrolled Media Social media posts will be used in the form of the
Facebook public page and connections with the USI Shield and Radio
Implementation Program
In order for the campaign to be a success, the following steps will be taken as shown in
the Gantt Chart.
Social Media
“ “
“ “
In weeks 1-2 of the semester, the focus will be on launching the newsletter for the school
year, tabling at the involvement fair at the beginning of the semester (which includes
handing out general flyers), and getting people interested in social media posts to help
stay informed. Social media posts will be maintained at least every 4 weeks, as well as
the newsletter being sent out bi-weekly throughout the semester Social media posts will
be promoted through a special Facebook feature throughout the Evansville area on
Facebook to help involve more community members. Flyer distribution and spokesperson
promotion will then begin the last couple weeks of the Fall Semester for the Talent Show
in last week of February. Social media posts and newsletter will run through the Winter
Break and weeks leading up to talent show. Promotion is focused more in Fall Semester
to get as many acts to participate as possible.
V. Evaluative Research
Each objective will be determined a success through research. Each member
meeting/events have sign in sheets where member names are kept. The president can then
check to see if at least 25 new students have joined the group in the semester, and by
approximately what date. The president/faculty advisor can check email/facebook to
make sure the social media chair is up to date with the email newsletter and posts. There
will be a paper trail of dates and times all things are posted. Funding is also kept track of
by Treasurer, who will be able to access whether dues were met, and how much donation
is lacking or above the needed amount.
Appendix A
Evaluation of the Campaign:
The 2015 Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign was a success. Best buddies
met the above stated goals for social media and newsletter posts
which were executed by the Social Media chair. The organization
met its fundraising goals of $300 to maintain organizational dues to
stay on campus and part of Best Buddies International. The
organization also reached 25 new people interested in the
organization either by meetings or by social media following such
as Facebook. All sources were checked by the paper trail stated
above in the research section.

The following documents were flyers. posters. forms, press releases and all additional forms of media used in the implimentation of this campaign. This completes Apendex B within the next several pages.

Appendix C Detailed budget summary.
Budget Summary
Use of PR professional (80+ hours spent) $580
Facebook page upkeep/newsletter $72.50
Facebook promotion $10
Flyers (300 ct) $30
Side Walk Promotion $2
Media Release $100
All costs were met at $0 for the organization by volunteers and
donations. Prices based on the cost of hiring USI student
professionals (paid) and campus rescources.
Appendix D My closing remarks
This campaign was an absolute success. It was very doubtful in the beginning as to
whether it could be pulled off but it was done well. The only thing
that I would have liked to have changed would have been the
amount of resources that we had to work with and the time given to
accomplish the task. The students and the faculty advisor I worked
with were fantastic. They were very attentive in what I had to say,
and were very prompt to get me what I needed to for the campaign.
This was one of the toughest and largest campaigns I have ever
launched. To this day, it is a great accomplishment and has earned
great recognition within the disabled community which was my
greatest hope. I did all this work in one of the toughest times of my
life and I still came out on the other side. This project taught me
much about not giving up and finishing everything that you have
started even if it takes you longer than you hoped.