3.3 Established Chapter Marketing
Marketing an established ACAP chapter is similar – yet different – from marketing a chapter that is just beginning. While established chapters may have gained visibility and are becoming more and more recognized in the community, there probably are many people and organizations who do not know about you. While the same combination of digital marketing (via ACAPcommunity) and “on the ground” marketing (via the Leadership Team) exists for veteran chapters as well as new ones, it may seem harder to build momentum when a chapter’s “newness” has worn off. However, experienced chapters already have a cadre of attendees, speakers, sponsors, Leadership Team members, businesses, agencies, and organizations that may be enlisted to help market the chapter.
Steps to market your chapter include:
- Define your marketing goals.
- Understand your audiences.
- Craft your key messages.
- Choose, plan, and create your marketing strategies.
- Analyze your marketing performance
1. Define your marketing goals
Whether marketing a new chapter or one that has been part of a community for a while, the goals are the same:
- Strengthen community awareness and engagement
- Increase email lists for three audiences (See below)
- Identify program presenters, sponsors, publicity partners, and Leadership Team members
- Secure sustainable funding for the chapter
2. Understand your audiences
Probably, most of your program attendees have been adults between the ages of 40-65 who are caring for their aging parents in some way. In addition to this group, though, others who also often join ACAP programs include:
- Spouses, siblings, other family members
- Friends, neighbors
- Senior services professionals
- Younger adults who are caring for an ill or older parent, are caring for a grandparent, are helping parents care for their parents
- Older adults who are interested in information for themselves, an older parent, spouse, or friend
- Working adults and Human Resources officials – In that so many ACAPers are working adults, HR officials may be interested in providing support for employees
- Medical professionals, senior community officials, home care service providers, Senior Real Estate Specialists, Senior Move Managers, and others who interface with families providing care for an older adult loved one or may anticipate significant change in the loved one’s situation in the foreseeable future
For a more complete list of individuals and groups to engage in your chapter, whether as attendees, speakers, sponsors, publicity partners, Leadership Team members, or any other way, see Resources – Speakers, Sponsors, Publicity, Leadership Team.
3. Craft your key messages
The bottom line message of ACAP and your programs is ACAP’s mission – that your chapter and your programs provide “information, resources, support, and community for adult-children as they care for their aging parents and for themselves.” Other talking points you may wish to consider are descriptions of ACAP’s uniqueness:
- ACAP’s focus is on adult children of aging parents, although programs are open to all.
- While support and community are important offerings of ACAP, at the core, ACAP is an educational program.
- A nationally validated and copyrighted Curriculum provides the framework for ACAP programs.
- Chapter programs are offered 12 months each year, helping build community and reduce isolation.
- Because so many caregivers do not consider themselves as a caregiver, the term “Caregiver” is not in our name.
- There are multiple avenues of support, including in person programs, videos, podcasts, local conferences, national/international symposia, and other resources.
- Chapters are led by a cadre of local volunteers.
- ACAP is collaborative, offering a collective impact model for a community.
Beyond these general statements, the message you will want to convey depends on the person or group with whom you are talking:
- ACAP programs help attendees:
- Learn meaningful information via free monthly evidence-informed educational programs
- Become familiar with local resources
- Receive needed support
- Become part of a community of others who also are caring for their aging loved ones
- Programs are offered each month at the same day and time and in the same location
- Programs are offered in person (and virtually or recorded for later viewing, if your chapter provides such)
- Programs offer information about the six core topics common to all who care for older adult loved ones. Attending all programs throughout the year will ensure attendees’ receiving information about all issues and concerns typically experienced
- While ACAP is designed for adult-children of aging parents, programs are open to everyone, and typically spouses, siblings, other family members, friends, and professionals attend monthly programs
- ACAP programs are based on an updated nationally-validated and copyrighted curriculum.
- Speakers are invited to be a program presenter because they are recognized as a content expert, excellent speaker, and respected professional in the community. Presenters are asked to provide an evidence-informed presentation aligned with the speaker’s expertise and the program outline provided by the chapter, using the outline as a base and framework for integrating current research and best practices.
- For 90-minute programs, speakers will have 70-minute presentations; 60-minute programs allow for 45-50 minute presentations.
- ACAP program speakers volunteer their time and expertise.
- The speaker and employer receive recognition on all publicity about the program via the chapter’s web page, emails, flyers, press releases, and social media posts. The audience is comprised of those the presenter serves. Although the reason or objective of engaging a speaker is not to increase their business, ACAP presenters have received new business after the program.
- Although ACAP will not provide attendee contact information, presenters are free to capture such from those who wish follow up.
See Sponsorship Packet for details of fees and benefits.
Possible Leadership Team Members
- Becoming part of the chapter Leadership Team provides an opportunity to join a select group of 10-14+ senior-services professionals in your community to provide meaningful support for those caring for older adult loved ones.
- Leadership Team members are recognized, by name and employer, on the chapter’s dedicated web page as well as being identified, by name, at ACAP programs.
- Leadership Team members divide activities related to planning and conducting monthly programs. Typical time involvement is 5-7 hours per month, including attending the monthly program and Leadership Team meeting.
- Leadership Team members volunteer their time and expertise, committing to serve at least 1-2 years.
4. Choose, plan, and create your marketing strategies
Marketing ACAP programs includes digital marketing, conducted by ACAPcommunity, and “on the ground” marketing, provided by the chapter Leadership Team.
ACAPcommunity Digital Marketing (ACAPcommunity)
Ensuring all stakeholders, tagged by chapter, receive timely information about programs and efforts to continually increase search engine optimization guide digital marketing activities. ACAPcommunity’s Digital Marketing Team provides all digital marketing actions including:
- Maintaining and updating your chapter web page
- Overseeing your MailChimp audiences and developing and sending emails about upcoming programs
- Audience #1 – prospective program attendees
- Audience #2 – local media
- Audience #3 – local businesses, agencies, organizations, faith communities, and other groups you wish to be contacted
- Maintaining your chapter social media sites and posting notices about each upcoming program
“On the ground” marketing (Leadership Team)
There is absolutely no substitute for the impact of the Leadership Team’s keeping the chapter and programs in the forefront within the community. Talk, talk, talk about ACAP every chance you have!
- Continually network with persons who are in the senior services space, talk about ACAP, and continue to update all email audiences.
- Using the Resources – Speakers, Sponsors, Publicity Partners, and Leadership Team list, strategically plan specific individuals and groups to contact, identifying which Leadership Team member will be responsible.
- Connect with HR offices and other businesses/corporation officials in your area to share your chapter information with them, asking that they provide the information to their employees either digitally or in print. Be sure to add the HR contacts to your email list.
- Have each member of your Leadership Team regularly share the ACAPcommunity-generated social media posts, program flyers, and emails with their personal and professional networks.
- Marketing Liaison and Technology Teams will spearhead regular posts and re-posts on social media sites.
5. Analyze your marketing performance
Analyzing marketing performance and the strength of each chapter is designed to ensure and further ACAP chapter and ACAPcommunity growth and sustainability and, if needed, employ early intervention strategies. Considerations include:
- Monthly and annual digital marketing analytics
- Quarterly and annual in-person program attendance
- Quarterly and annual reports of chapter sponsorships and financial strength
- Annual assessment of Leadership Team strength
An older adult’s life can change dramatically in a short period of time and, sometimes, without warning. Although families often have professional photos taken of children and parents, “parent/child” photos are not common for adult-children and their aging parents. However, the photos – and the experience – can be enormously meaningful for families.
In early ACAP days, a professional photo shoot was offered for adult-children and their aging parents. While we only had a handful of participants, the event was extremely meaningful for families. Within one year, the health of each of the parents had changed significantly. Over and over, the adult children told us how meaningful the photos were for them. Often, they were the last photos with their parents.
If your Leadership Team decides to consider offering a photo shoot, please keep in mind:
- Not only does a photo shoot offer a wonderful experience and photos for families, this also can be a unique and meaningful fundraiser for your chapter.
- Be sure to engage a professional photographer, preferably one who has professional (and/or personal) experience with older adults.
- Some of the older adults may have mobility issues. You will want to use a site with level ground or floor, is barrier free, has convenient parking, and offers restrooms nearby.
- Each family should receive digital copies of all their photos, whether by flash drive or accessed via website.
- Be sure to secure a photo release form from each participant, giving them the opportunity to authorize use of their photos in your chapter and ACAPcommunity materials and publicity. (Please send digital copies of the photos to ACAPcommunity.)
- You may wish to consider offering a photo shoot as an annual event in your community.
Additional insights from experienced ACAP Chapter Coordinators
- Have a diverse Leadership Team – Be sure to have lots of different organizations/types of organizations on your Leadership Team, representatives from various races/ethnicities, etc. Doing so will help ensure various networks for publicizing programs within various populations.
- Be sure to schedule the right speakers (speakers who are well recognized in your community) for programs.
- Have Leadership Team members share program email invitations and flyers with their personal and professional networks.
- Share program flyers and emails with your business’s/agency’s/organization’s constituents, clients, colleagues, and staff.
- Post program flyers in high-traffic areas (offices, restaurants such as Panera, etc.)
- Share program information with family and friends.
- Continually update (and increase) the number of people on your media and organizational list so they may receive program notices, press releases, etc.
- Continually update the list of potential attendees to receive emails about upcoming programs.
- Attend your local senior services professional network organizations and talk about ACAP. Encourage sponsorships among members.
- Talk, talk, talk about ACAP in your community!
- Include a realtor (preferably, an SRES realtor) on your Leadership Team.
- Share benefits/return on investments for speakers, sponsors, and potential Leadership Team members.
- Be sure there is a welcoming team at your programs to register people as well as people who talk with attendees once inside the venue.
- Seat people at tables (preferably, round tables) for your programs.
- Share your chapter rack cards liberally.
- Connect with major employers and HR offices in your area (and heads of smaller businesses). Share with them materials for upcoming programs and be sure they are on the email distribution list. Hospitals, senior services organizations, manufacturers, and other large businesses are prime for having lots of employees who need to know about ACAP.
- Offer your willingness to do a presentation for larger employers’ employees, telling them about your chapter and programs.
- Do presentations about your chapter and programs at Rotary, Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, etc. meetings.
- Do presentations for Stephen Ministries and other groups at faith communities.
- Consider offering a mini resource fair at one program per year, featuring multiple sponsors. This could be in conjunction with a typical presentation or stand-alone.
- Share, share, share via your social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Each week, someone from your Leadership Team should post something new and share with their personal and professional network(s).
- Ask to be included on all newsletters your venue and other chapter partner organizations produce (libraries are particularly good about this).
- Share ACAP at the Farmers’ Market.
- Hold programs in a neutral venue, welcoming of all.
- Consider as venues: libraries, hospitals, large employers, etc.
- Know that when ACAP first began, the basic fundamentals that helped make it successful and respected included:
- Focus on relationships and connections: Person-to-person, beginning to build the sense of community caregivers need
- Excellence in everything, as much as possible
- Respect for all
- Community-wide engagement
- Heart and personal investment
- Sincere interest in individual caregiver’s circumstances and stories