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    Case Study: Grand Opening Of Salvation Army Hospitality House

    Community support was overwhelming when the new Hospitality House held a grand opening in January. Volunteers are now needed to help children in the shelter’s computer lab and media center. Photo by Chris Sloan


    Media Relations  – Non-Profit Organization
    Grand Opening Of Salvation Army Hospitality House
    January 15, 2010

    Objective: As part of our ongoing role as the Salvation Army’s public relations provider, we were given the task of event planning and arranging media coverage for the Grand Opening of the Salvation Army’s Hospitality House emergency family shelter, which took place on January 15, 2010. The Hospitality House was remodeled after the San Bernardino Corps purchased the building from another arm of the Salvation Army, the San Bernardino Adult Rehabilitation Center.

    Tactics: Our media relations strategy began in 2008, when the San Bernardino Corps first purchased the shelter from the Adult Rehabilitation Center. After the first release, we began consistently mentioning the upcoming move in our press releases about other events. For instance, in the press release about the 2008 Red Kettle campaign, a holiday fundraiser for the Salvation Army, we mentioned that the Salvation Army would need more money in 2009 due to this planned move.

    Throughout 2009, we continued to frequently mention the upcoming move in our press releases, and we issued additional press releases specifically about this topic.  This included one press release for another client, the Art Institute of California – Inland Empire, whose students had worked with the Salvation Army to create a design scheme for the shelter’s new library and computer lab. Finally, in the first week of January, 2010 we sent out a media advisory so that all of our media contacts would know the Salvation Army planned its grand opening on January 15.

    Results: The initial press release resulted in stories published in the Press-Enterprise (Riverside), the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the San Bernardino County Sun, and the Inland Empire Business Journal. In addition, the San Bernardino Sun did two stories about the Salvation Army in December 2008 that mentioned the upcoming move.

    By the summer of 2009, the local media was keenly aware of the upcoming move. In August 2009, the Press-Enterprise contacted us, requesting a tour of the work in progress. This resulted in a 72 ½ inch story and photo on the front of the Local section. After this was published, additional tours were arranged for the Sun and for a reporter from the Inland Empire bureaus of Channels 2 and 9, resulting in additional media coverage from those outlets. New Frontier, a newspaper for the Salvation Army Corps in the western United States, reprinted the Press-Enterprise story, along with a sidebar we had produced about State Senator Gloria Negrete-McLeod touring the under-construction shelter.

    Our final tactic, the media alert sent out the first week of January 2010, resulted in pre-event coverage from the Press-Enterprise, and post-event coverage from the Press-Enterprise, the Sun, New Frontier, Highland Community News, the Rialto Record, Colton Courier, El Chicano and Inland Empire Weekly and the website Eventful.com.

    Additionally, in February 2010, the Sun arranged to have a reporter and a photographer spend the night at the shelter, which resulted in an 80-inch story, a 30-inch sidebar, two sidebars of 20 inches each, and a 14-inch sidebar.

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