Outlet: The Pottstown Mercury
Journalist: Diane Hoffman
Sometimes ‘community engagement’ is more meaningful than just getting traction on social media. In ways that many papers don’t, the Pottstown Mercury understands this organizationally, as they’ve just wound down their third community-oriented project of the year with the Town Square bloggers.* This most recent fundraiser resulted from a visit by Pottstown YWCA staff to one of the paper’s regular community bloggers meetings. The YWCA was in need of additional funding for its literacy education program, the staff members had told the bloggers, and from that an idea for a literacy-themed challenge was borne.
For every person who took a Literacy Pledge and signed up for a YWCA email list using a form on Google Docs, an anonymous donor would give $1 to the YWCA. The Mercury’s Town Square bloggers even wrote up posts to promote the fundraiser. As community engagement editor Diane Hoffman noted to us, the pledge form included an option that let readers identify which blog had prompted them to take the pledge — by tracking referrals, Hoffman and others at the paper could see which blogs generated the most emails and, consequently, donations. In total, the Read and Write for Literacy Campaign raised $1,057 for the YWCA.
* Wondering what the first two community projects of the year were? A food drive over Lent and a community clean-up initiative this summer.