Friendship Circle of Michigan, a nonprofit that supports individuals with special needs and those struggling with isolation, addiction and other family related crises, celebrated its 18th annual Walk4Friendship fundraiser on August 27, 2023 in West Bloomfield. Walk4Friendship is a 1.7-mile-long community walk that raises funds for the nonprofit’s vital recreational, social, educational and vocational programming.
Friendship Circle faced the challenge of reaching an increased fundraising goal of $750,000 – the largest goal the nonprofit has set. Friendship Circle came to Franco to help them generate walk awareness and participation through influencer and earned media efforts to meet this goal.
For over a decade, Detroit media have covered the Walk4Friendship. Franco wanted to think outside the box and promote the walk in a different way than in previous years to help Friendship Circle reach its fundraising goal of $750,000.
Through creative media relations and influencer marketing strategies, we did just that. Specific tactics included:
Our first step was to announce Friendship Circle’s 18th annual Walk4Friendship. We created a tailored list of media and outlets across metro Detroit that would be a good fit for covering the walk. We then drafted a compelling pitch and sent it along with the announcement news release.
Through this strategic media approach, we secured coverage with: WXYZ-TV Detroit, FOX 2 News, DBusiness, Metro Times Community Calendar, Patch, Little Guide Detroit, The Oakland Press, The Oakland Press Friday Five, The West Bloomfield Beacon, CBS Detroit, WDET 101.9 FM, Angela Moore Radio Show 910 AM, WWJ 950 AM, The Detroit Jewish News and Seen Magazine Calendar.
Upon conducting influencer research, we discovered Shayla, a local metro Detroit TikTok star who has mentioned her participation in the walk in her videos and promotes kindness to her 240,000+ followers. Franco suggested to the Friendship Circle team that she become a Walk4Friendship influencer, and Shayla was immediately brought on as the walk’s first brand ambassador.
To prepare Shayla for her influencer role, we met with her and Friendship Circle to discuss her role and a content strategy. As part of this strategy, she would discuss her experience at Friendship Circle, the programs and services offered and encourage her followers to walk with her or donate to her walk page.
See Shayla’s Walk4Friendship videos and TikTok account here.
Franco knew Shayla’s positive attitude and passion for Friendship Circle would make her the perfect fit to speak to media. Our first step was guiding Shayla through media preparation calls, providing her with talking points and potential interview questions.
Once Shayla was media ready, we pitched Shayla’s history with Friendship Circle and her role as the first Walk4Friendship brand ambassador.
In addition to Shayla serving as a walk ambassador, we also secured Erica Francis of FOX 2 News as the walk emcee. We invited Erica to Friendship Circle for a tour of the facility and to learn more about the programs and walk. We offered her the opportunity to speak with Shayla to learn even more about the organization, the annual Walk4Friendship and her brand ambassador role.
Leading up to the segment, Shayla told her followers to tune in. Shayla shared the segment on her TikTok page on the day it aired, encouraging her followers to watch and donate to the Walk4Friendship.
View the FOX 2 segment here.
Franco was on-site the day of the walk, calling television stations to gauge attendance interest, greeting media and going over the run-of-show with event emcee Erica Francis. We also joined in the fun, walked as a group and even ran into some old friends!
In addition to all the great coverage we received leading up to the walk, a West Bloomfield Beacon photographer was in attendance to capture photos.
- Friendship Circle of Michigan’s 18th annual and record-breaking Walk4Friendship fundraiser raised more than $850,000, which will go directly to programs that help individuals with special needs and families struggling with isolation and addiction.
- Generated more than 60 pieces of coverage (in three months) across local media in print, broadcast and digital outlets.
- From the 13 videos Shayla posted about Walk4Friendship, she garnered a total of 101,835 likes, 1,528,600 views, 1,786 comments and 7,070 video shares. Median brands are earning an average engagement per follower of 5.7% on TikTok. Shayla’s was 27% higher than the average.
- Shayla raised more than $2,600 for the walk through the content she shared from being a brand ambassador.
- Strengthened existing media relationships.
- Increased overall awareness of Friendship Circle’s Walk4Friendship.
- Friendship Circle was thrilled with Franco’s media coverage and brand ambassador partnership with Shayla.
Reach out to learn more about how Franco can support your organization with earned media and influencer relations.