By: Sarah Lindstrom
To begin the spring 2017 semester, my team will be helping Meals and Wheels Waco develop a strategic public relations campaign.
After speaking with Meals on Wheels Waco’s Nutrition Director, Debbie King, and Direct of Client Services, Laura Ziemer, we decided to focus our campaign on gaining and maintaining more consistent volunteers.
Waco has a strong community of nonprofit and service organizations, Meals and Wheels Waco is one of many organizations that benefits from the many servant-hearted people in Waco.
Being located in a community that is spiritually and service centered will be a great benefit to developing and implementing a successful campaign to gain more volunteers.
The combination of a 15 percent increase in clients, due to the retiring baby boomer generation, and lack of advertising in the community has created a shortage of volunteers.
In order to implement a successful PR campaign to gain more volunteers we first had to conduct and evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of Meals and Wheels Waco.
Meals on Wheels has both a nationally and locally recognizable name, they been committed to serving the Waco community nutritious meals to older adults for the last 50 years.
While Meals on Wheels has strengths behind its name and funding it lacks consistent volunteers for a number of reasons. Delivery times are from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. making it difficult for working people to volunteer. Volunteers are often seasonal, only coming during the school year. In addition, some volunteers don’t have access to vehicles to transport meals even when they have a desire to serve.
Externally, Meals and Wheels Waco face threats from potential government policies and other local nonprofit organizations that people may want to volunteer for instead of Meals and Wheels. One of the biggest threats Meals and Wheels Waco faces is the baby boomer generation, as more and more individuals from their generation require care the tighter budgets and volunteer needs become.
While there are always areas of improvement in any organization there are many opportunities for Meals and Wheels to capitalize on. The national Meals on Wheels organization is launching a new campaign and rebranding effort that the Waco organization will also be a part of. There are various ways in which Meals and Wheels Waco can get involved with both the Baylor University community and social media platforms. Becoming involved with both the local student and faculty population can be facilitated through the use of social media.
Overall, using the opportunities uncovered by our initial research we believe that we can help to solve volunteer problem as well as raise awareness about Meals and Wheels Waco.