The Tutor/Mentor Connection's Public Awareness Strategy is based on the marketing/advertising strategies used by big companies to draw customers to multiple locations in many states. T/MC does not have an advertising or public awareness budget, thus it looks for other ways to create media frequency and reach and greater public attention.
One strategy is to create maps that follow feature stories in local papers and TV, which usually sensationalizes violence and poverty. We call our map strategy "THE REST OF THE STORY". We post these maps in blog articles that are intended to leverage the public awareness generated by the media, in ways that draw volunteers and donors directly to tutor/mentor programs in neighborhoods that have been the focus of negative news.
In March 2009 T/MC launched an interactive program locator, that enables visitors to create their own maps of different sections of the city. This blog article shows a map created in just 10 minutes, using this feature. Now students in high school and colleges can become advocates, and journalist, drawing media, volunteer and donor attention to neighborhoods where more non-school learning, mentoring and career opportunities are needed.
With the help of students, volunteers and the business community, we can get THE REST OF THE STORY on the internet, within 24 to 48 hours, while it is still featured in the news, the local papers become our advertising partner. This is a strategy that we hope youth journalists and advocates in high school, college, or other community technology centers, will adopt, with youth creating maps of their own neighborhood, and drawing volunteers and donors to tutor/mentor programs in their own community. Contact the T/MC if you'd like to learn how you might use the T/MC map gallery and database for this purpose.
Vision: because of the work we do youth living in poverty today will be starting jobs and entering careers out of poverty by age 25
On TED.com rock music star Bono sets a goal of one million advocates and one billion page views, focusing on poverty in Africa. Our goal is to mobilize the same type of support, but to focus it on high poverty areas of inner city neighborhoods, using maps, and a Program Locator Database, to help volunteers, donors, parents and students connect with the programs which already operate in these areas, or to help build new programs in undeserved areas.
To achieve this goal, many people need to spread this message to people in their network, who become volunteers or donors. And many of these people need to spread the work in their own networks. The end result might be Bono or some other leader becoming a champion for tutor/mentor programs and the T/MC strategy . This chart illustrates the goal.
Our goal is to increase the number of stories that draw attention and resources to tutor/mentor programs in every poverty neighborhood using same strategies as advertisers for fast food, banks, lenders, TV shows.
To do this we've created an annual event/marketing plan that repeats from year-to-year. Starting a volunteer volunteer-based tutor/mentor program is difficult, but is really the easiest part of the lessons we're sharing in the Tutor/Mentor Institute. Sustaining a program and growing it into a great program, having a life changing impact on youth, as well as volunteers, is a long-term process. Thus, leaders need to have a business plan for finding resources to fuel constant innovation and process improvement.
This calendar of events has been developed over the past 18 years as part of an effort to bring more attention and resources to volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs operating in Chicago and other cities. We are still looking for partners/sponsors for 2013-14. Read more.