Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

Challenge

Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) has provided and assured the highest quality of health care for homeless men, women, and children in Boston since 1985.  BHCHP needed to identify and secure new funders, advocates and partners in Massachusetts, but suffered from a lack of the mainstream exposure that drives recognition among community leaders. The organization initially sought O’Neill and Associates’ public relations services to elevate its profile within the philanthropic community and the media as well as identify new donors and secure media attention. Additionally, when BHCHP was awarded a Kresge Challenge grant to help complete construction of their new headquarters in Boston, the organization also retained O’Neill and Associates to assist them with their capital campaign.

Solution

O’Neill and Associates provided messaging and spokesperson development for the organization, which had great national recognition as a leader in addressing homelessness, but very little local recognition.  O’Neill and Associates provided BHCHP with recommendations and messages that highlighted how innovative the program was and how important its work was to the community.  BHCHP incorporated these message recommendations into their fundraising material and communications with the media and donors.

Additionally, O’Neill and Associates provided the Program with media training to cultivate spokespersons among its organizational leadership.  This media training culminated in the appearance by two BHCHP representatives in the broadcast booth at a televised Boston Red Sox game promoting a charitable event in which game day attendees were encouraged to bring socks that would be donated to homeless men and women.

O’Neill and Associates provided public relations services that included media outreach for their gala event, which featured Tim Russert; the opening of their new facility, Jean Yawkey Place; and innovative social media campaigns to help them meet the challenge presented by the Kresge Foundation. O’Neill and Associates also utilized social media tools to help generate attention to BHCHP’s capital campaign.  When Red Sox player David Ortiz and his wife Tiffany donated an unused bed to the organization to help raise visibility, O’Neill and Associates arranged for an online auction which we marketed through Facebook ads and other social media.

Results

Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program has stated that O’Neill and Associates’ work helped the organization take its communications and fundraising efforts to the next level.  Due to the efforts of O’Neill and Associates, Jean Yawkey Place, BHCHP’s  first-in-the-nation facility focused entirely on meeting the medical needs of the city’s homeless population received positive media coverage in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Boston Business Journal, WBZ AM and WCVB.  BHCHP and Jean Yawkey Place were also prominently featured in the November 2008 Giving issue of the New York Times. Our social media outreach surrounding the Ortiz bed auction not only produced a generous donation for BHCHP, it resulted in coverage in WBZ-TV, WPRI-TV, and the Springfield Republican as well as a number of sports-related blogs.

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