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Catholic Charities

Rising to the challenge.

Challenge

Catholic Charities of Buffalo is a comprehensive human service agency that is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. The not-for-profit agency serves nearly 138,000 Western New York residents through its 71 programs and services in 61 sites located across the eight counties of Western New York.

Catholic Charities’ annual Appeal is a rite of spring in Western New York. While at the former Travers Collins, the public relations team at The Martin Group worked with Catholic Charities for more than a decade helping to bolster awareness and support of the Appeal. In 2013, the agency was chosen to handle the marketing and creative elements surrounding the Appeal as well.

Catholic Charities has a dedicated base of loyal supporters. However, it is an aging group declining in size. In addition, the region’s struggling economy and Buffalo’s ranking as one of the poorest cities in the U.S. negatively impacts the size of donations and the number of donors. The PR team at The Martin Group needed to find a way to overcome these obstacles in order to allow Catholic Charities to reach its Appeal goal.

Solution

The Martin Group’s current PR team identified a theme and approach for the 2014 Appeal that would resonate with Catholics and non-Catholics of all ages, and also wanted to emphasize the success Catholic Charities has generated with thousands of individuals through its programs and services by putting names and faces to the individuals that have been helped.

Results

Working in concert with Catholic Charities officials, The Martin Group developed a theme titled “Heart at work.” The Martin Group sought to speak to the hard work that Catholic Charities does every day to help people in need throughout the community. We utilized a youthful approach in the photography, as we used shots of various people joining hands to make the symbol of a heart. Billboards, print ads, online ads and radio spots carried the theme through, all supported by a proactive media relations effort.

The Martin Group was able to secure several stories in numerous publications, including The Buffalo News, along with local weekly publications. In addition, The Martin Group was able to get Catholic Charities 10 television interviews. These interviews took place on channels 2, 4, 7, LCTV and CW23. Lastly, Catholic Charities completed radio interviews with seven local radio stations, airing throughout the Appeal.

The campaign was positively received by the Catholic Charities leadership team and earned praise from Bishop Richard J. Malone as well. The 2014 Appeal raised more than $11 million, exceeding its $10.8 million goal.

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