Why Community Matters
Laura Baker Services Association – a nonprofit organization in Northfield, Minnesota that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – wanted a way to shed light on the challenges faced by service providers today as well as the value that service providers have on local communities. Neuger Communications Group partnered with KYMN Radio, a Northfield-based radio station, to produce a content series on Laura Baker.
Laura Baker Services Association is a prime example of how care providers in Minnesota are struggling to do more with less. The organization shares many of the same challenges that service providers face across Minnesota, from decreased and uncertain funding to high staff turnover. In addition, Laura Baker Services Association is always seeking to increase public awareness about key issues facing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Communications Challenge
The organization needed a way to talk about all of the great work they do yet also have honest conversations about the immediate and pressing challenges that are difficult to discuss publicly. We wanted to highlight Laura Baker’s services and also show their challenges via many voices, knowing it would be more valuable to have community members included in this conversation to provide a more holistic view.
We identified a local radio station, KYMN Radio (95.1 The One), that would be a great way to communicate their messaging to the right audience, since several Laura Baker volunteers and donors live in the Northfield area.
Through the radio series, we wanted to address the following objectives to achieve their main communications goals:
- Show the challenges service providers face today
- Develop and increase Laura Baker’s credibility in the community
- Present the repercussions communities would face if care providers went out of business
After reviewing all of the messaging we wanted to convey, we narrowed it down into five main topics. Then, in collaboration with KYMN, we decided to divide the radio series into six segments, including an introduction.
Next, we worked with Laura Baker staff to decide who in the community and in the organization would be interviewed for each segment. The introduction would be with Sandi Gerdes, Laura Baker’s executive director.
Beginning in early 2020, we reached out to all the interviewees, and coordinated interview times with KYMN. All interviews were recorded so they could air consecutively for six straight days at the same time. KYMN edited the series and provided audio to us before they aired so we could write corresponding web and social media content to accompany.
We created titles for each segment to tease what it would be about:
- Introducing the series, Why Community Matters
- All Walks of Life – Highlights the importance of care providers
- A Revolving Door – Addresses staffing issues
- Home Sweet Home – Addresses housing insecurity
- Stronger Together – Shows the value of community partnerships
- Show Your Talents – Shows how community members help the Laura Baker community
Why Community Matters was decided on for the series name, since it takes a whole community to support each other and its organizations.
After each segment aired, we posted the audio clip and a summary on Laura Baker’s website, and also posted to their social media channels to promote the series. Sandi Gerdes also wrote a blog post to highlight all the work the organization does.
While it’s premature to report increased volunteerism, government funding or donations since the series aired from April 24 – May 1, 2020, the Northfield community has expressed a very positive response on social media and in communications to leadership at Laura Baker.
Check out the series here.