Building Momentum

Generating Local Media Attention for the 2023 Habitat for Humanity Carter Work Project

the situation

In 2023, Anna Stallmann Communications, in partnership with Chris Ahearn Strategic Communications, was tasked with creating and executing against a comprehensive communications strategy to generate earned local media attention for the highly anticipated return of the Habitat for Humanity Carter Work Project in Charlotte, North Carolina. The project, which took place from October 1-6, 2023, involved over 2,100 volunteers from 31 states and various countries coming together to build 27 new homes in West Charlotte, specifically in the Meadows at Plato Price development and on New Pineola Road. This event marked the official return of the Carter Work Project after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and included celebrity ambassadors Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.

photo of ASC team wearing hard hats

the project

The team developed a strategy that would first make the local media aware of the Carter Work Project, then educate them about its significance and engage them in sharing content from homeowners, leadership, and volunteers, and ultimately secure media attendance and coverage at the 5-day build event in Charlotte.

Our team meticulously designed, authored, and disseminated a monthly Build Up” newsletter and informational landing page. This newsletter served as a platform to share pertinent updates and stories related to the project, ensuring constant communication that kept the media well-informed and engaged in the lead-up to the event. This resulted in the publication of over two dozen articles and television segments prior to the commencement of the Carter Work Project. In addition, the team secured a media partnership with WCNC and the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative which led to a monthly featured story by four-time Emmy award winning anchor, Sarah French.

During the event, the communications team booked media interviews, escorted media to and from locations, managing spokespeople, identified compelling stories, and distributed interesting facts and data to share through a media resource guide. Our team also supported press conferences and media availability throughout the 5-day event.

Finally, to ensure continued media coverage, the team distributed a daily email with key updates and photos from each day’s build activities. This helped in maintaining media interest even when they couldn’t attend the event in person due to breaking news.

the results

Thanks to the diligent efforts of the team, the 2023 Carter Work Project in Charlotte, NC, received significant local media attention. The results included:

  • A total of 88 unique local news stories were generated, reaching an estimated 745,000 views.
  • A 20-minute special program was produced by WCNC.
  • High-profile media interviews were secured and conducted with celebrities Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood by outlets such as Axios, WCNC, and the Christian Broadcast Network.
  • Most importantly, the project not only accelerated the construction of single-family homes by over a year but also raised national awareness about the pressing need for affordable housing in the Charlotte region.

The media strategy and execution of it played a pivotal role in the success of the 2023 Carter Work Project, shining a spotlight on the remarkable efforts of volunteers and the importance of affordable housing in the Charlotte community. These efforts not only achieved local media attention but also contributed to the project’s long-term impact and legacy.

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