Rallying Support for Afterschool Programs
Afterschool programs are critical to children and families. They allow parents to work without worrying about where their children are after school lets out. Yet the need for afterschool programs is far from met.
The Afterschool Alliance aims to change that. As the leading voice for afterschool programs, the Alliance’s goal is to raise awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocate for more afterschool investment.
Burness partners with the Alliance to support their communications efforts across the board. We focus on empowering 50 state networks to achieve their local goals, which range from fundraising to policy change to new partnerships.
As a strategic communications partner, we provide the Alliance three areas of support: 1) we create and strategize for the 50 state networks to adapt and use, 2) we provide one-on-one, technical assistance to states and 3) we support the Alliance in developing and implementing national campaigns.
The 50 state networks range in resources and experience—some are well-staffed and well-funded, and others depend largely on a single staff member and volunteers. To accommodate this range, we work with the Alliance to develop strategies that are scalable and materials that can be tailored to each network’s needs, from high-level messaging to graphics and one-pagers. We assist with training and coaching so that state networks can deploy these materials and achieve their local goals. We facilitate learning sessions so the networks can learn from each other.
We also help states maximize their potential. Depending on the network’s needs, our services can range from drafting communications strategies to running social media campaigns to preparing messages and materials for meetings.
Together with several partners, we also help the Alliance plan and run large-scale national communications campaigns.
Results and Impact
Working with the Alliance other partners, we’ve helped build a movement of highly engaged state networks—a united front of powerful advocates for afterschool programs. We have seen a jump in followers and engagement across the Alliance’s digital and social platforms. And the Alliance has grown its grassroots base with vocal supporters who are excited to act, whether that’s through social media, partner meetings or inviting members of Congress to visit a local afterschool program.
We have provided assistance to dozens of states in their efforts to educate their policymakers about the importance of afterschool. In a time of budget cuts and uncertainty for publicly funded programs, we have seen an indication that our joint efforts are making a difference.