The Situation

Erik’s Ranch & Retreats, a nonprofit organization offering residence, social and employment opportunities for young adults with autism, wanted to change the perception the public has of the young people they serve. They wanted to show the world that if you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism.

The Communications Challenge

With a goal to change attitudes, we decided to showcase the wide range of talents possessed by young adults diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The challenge was finding the right vehicle to do this.

Strategy

Together with Erik’s Ranch & Retreats, we created a video submission campaign, My Genuine Genius, to feature young people with autism doing something they loved that could also show their gifts. The promotional plan and materials included parent emails, phone calls, media relations and social media. We created a website to display the videos and shared them using social media channels.

Results

The campaign helped raise awareness of Erik’s Ranch & Retreats and their advocacy on behalf of this population. Founder Kathryn Nordberg is now regularly sought as an advocate, including a request for leadership on a recent legislative campaign to improve reimbursement policies. The My Genuine Genius campaign created loyalty among families and young adults and they have since opened two locations. Both locations have waiting lists of young adults waiting to live and work where they are recognized for their gifts and not by limitations.