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Open Road Alliance

Project Overview

Founded in 2012, Open Road Alliance is a private philanthropic initiative that provides capital to non-profits and social enterprises for mid-implementation projects facing an unexpected roadblock. Across the philanthropic sector, most organizations do not systematically assess risk or implement risk management activities during the grant making process. As a result, projects are stalled and even completely shut down when small amounts of additional funding could solve the problem at hand. Open Road provides this fast, flexible capital. Open Road seeks to change how non-profits communicate with foundations and donors by addressing potential risk during the grant process.

Strategy Media Relations Executive Visibility Social Amplification

Open Road began working with Ditto in February 2016 with the goal of elevating the profile and brand recognition of Open Road as an expert in risk management, and to elevate its advocacy messaging within the philanthropic community and the media at large. For the first half of 2016 Open Road’s focus was on educating the marketplace about the issues, the second half was focused on promoting the solutions. Open Road co-convened the Commons, a task-force of 25 leaders from across the philanthropic landscape, to develop a Toolkit of adoptable and adaptable policies for addressing risk and implementing risk management procedures in grant making.

Approach

To promote these efforts, Ditto implemented a multi-publication, multi-platform engagement campaign to maximize the impact of the Commons’ work, including:

  • Trade Blog Series - Ditto secured a four-part blog series with the Chronicle of Philanthropy to introduce the Commons and discuss the broader topic of risk each month leading up to the Toolkit’s official release.

  • Influencer Story - Ditto initiated conversations with New York Times reporter Paul Sullivan regarding the Commons and its efforts. This resulted in a feature story on the front page of the Times’ Business Section.

  • Mainstream Story - In order to maximize exposure with a broad, younger audience, Ditto secured a feature on the Commons with Fast Company.

  • Academic Publishing - To validate the Commons’ work, Ditto helped to secure placement of the Commons’ final research and findings with the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

To maximize the exposure and build upon the impact of Open Road’s traditional media results, Ditto developed an integrated strategy to promote and share content online utilizing a combination of earned, owned and paid tactics. This included:

Tactic #1

Online Executive Positioning

Ditto’s OEP program was designed to ensure Open Road’s leadership team would serve as primary sources of information about themselves in search results, while differentiating each from others with the same names.

Tactic #2

LinkedIn

Given its high search ranking and influential user base, Ditto created LinkedIn profiles to highlight professional experience, promote executive thought leadership content and connect with others.

Tactic #3

Integrated Tactics

Ditto placed bylines linking back to the LinkedIn profiles and Open Road website in outlets with favorable search rankings, resulting in SEO link building, increased visitors and thus improved search results.

Tactic #4

Social Advertising

Ditto developed and executed social ad campaigns to promote and extend the reach of the Commons Toolkit and Open Road stories in influential outlets. This included crafting messaging for different stakeholders who were micro-targeted on social networks based on key demographics including location, education, employment and interests.As a result, Ditto extended the life of important content and coverage, which increased awareness with relevant audiences, drove traffic to Open Road’s website and generated email capture opportunities.

“We’ve had more contributed and earned media success this year than we’ve ever had before. The number of outlets that have been covering our work have been directly due to Ditto’s work, and really important for us in terms of positioning us within our sector, building our voice, building our brand and getting our message out there.”

- Maya Winkelstein, Executive Director at Open Road Alliance

Result

Since partnering in February 2016, Ditto has secured over 25 pieces of media coverage for Open Road Alliance in top tier publications such as the New York Time and The Chronicles of Philanthropy, which over time secured ORA’s sector reputation and market awareness. ORA’s Executive Director, Maya Winkelstein tied Ditto’s work with the company’s satisfaction in their brand differentiation, corporate voice, and executive positioning.

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