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Showing Athletes How To Make An Impact Brendan Kearney


Our Mission WalkBoston makes walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and vibrant communities. •  Our education and advocacy programs give voice to people to make their communities more walkable. •  Working with government agencies, we influence state and local transportation policies and designs. •  We develop and implement innovative programs that address accessibility, social and physical barriers to walking. •  Our work especially benefits those who depend on walking the most: people with lower incomes, seniors, childeren, and people with disabilities.


Agenda

Case Study: Charles River Underpasses High School Athletes & Service Hours Resources to Find/Connect to Athletes


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

•  The historic $3 billion Patrick-Murray Accelerated Bridge Program represents a monumental investment in Massachusetts bridges." •  Over $400 million in funding has been allocated to improving the conditions of structurally deficient bridges in the Lower Basin area of the Charles River.


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

•  The Charles River Conservancy, working in coalition with public and private partners, is advocating for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to include pedestrian underpasses as it renovates the Anderson, Western Avenue, and River Street bridges. •  These bridge intersections fragment the Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path and force walkers, runners, skaters, and cyclists to cross dangerous traffic-congested intersections at grade."


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

August 2012: CRC saw that underpasses needed to be included before the construction started and the opportunity in our lifetime was missed (bridges constructed roughly every 75 years). Decided they needed to start a letter writing campaign to get more people involved & put pressure on MassDOT / Governor / elected officials to make it happen.


Audience Poll

When Is The Last Time‌ You wrote a letter or postcard?

You bought stamps?"

You re-ordered checkbook?"


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

August 2012: Jon Puz of the Cambridge Running Club reached out to me about helping spread the word. (I’m a member of the Somerville Road Runners). He had already started listing groups & contacts, and realized that the Conservancy hadn’t gotten lots of the athletic community that utilized the pathways every day for training and commuting.


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

Step 1: Brainstorm. August 2012: Had

Google Docs was our best friend.


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

Step 2: Didn’t Rush To Act.


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

Step 3: Simplify the Message. •  Needed to make it easy to SIGN & SHARE. •  CRC created a petition sign up form.

Functional? YES! However: Far from visually appealing.


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

Step 4: Ask. •  Late on 10/4 (Thursday evening): We split our contact list up and using a basic template cranked out emails."


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

Step 5: Coordinated Social Media Attack.

•  Thursday PM, 10/4: Let them know that blog posts & campaign was going live 10/5 in AM & to please share at that time & let their groups know to sign. •  Shareable blog posts showing the “WIFM”! •  Links in the emails & the posts had pre-filled tweets


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

Why send the emails out BEFORE the blog posts went live? Isn’t that counter-intuitive? •  It made people feel important – they were contacted BEFORE this major push was about to happen, and we were making sure to let them know we thought he/she & his/her group was influential.


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

Step 6: Measurable. •  The blog posts drove home the message from the emails with illustrations of proposed underpasses, and it was a warm message – people already knew about it!

Other bloggers / reporters picked up on it, too. Blog posts made it EASY for people to SIGN & SHARE.


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

Step 7: Continue the Work.

•  Sharing info on website & also through e-newsletter updates"


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

5K Summer Series

•  Important! CRC did not try to organize their own race. Instead, they latched on to an existing event that was in the area & found a creative way to tell the underpass story. •  Good for race: more paying runners. •  Good for CRC: exposure without Race Director headaches!"


Case Study: Charles River Underpasses

One Year Later •  October 2013: ! Plans to revisit the topic with all signatories THIS MONTH! •  Keep people up to date on where things stand. These 1500+ people have shown they want to help and that they care about this topic – give them ability to! •  More & more - running / cycling community is ready & willing to take part in these conversations. •  Find 1 or 2 people who can introduce you to others (all runners seem to know each other)."


Agenda

Case Study: Charles River Underpasses High School Athletes & Service Hours Resources to Find/Connect to Athletes


High School Athletes & Service Hours

Service Hour Requirement •  Most private schools (and some public schools) now have a service hour requirement for students." •  Some are schoolwide, while others are specific to students that are Athletes / National Honor Society / Community Service Club.


High School Athletes & Service Hours

As A High School Coach…

•  Iʼm always on the lookout for service opportunities that I can provide to the team that do not conflict with meets/practice." •  The more I can plan for – the better. (Instead of having a star athlete miss a meet in May since has to fulfill requirement).


High School Athletes & Service Hours

ASK. •  Go direct to coaches or athletic department. Iʼm more likely to be interested if I was contacted directly instead of getting sent something from the AD (but that could be just personal preference). " •  See if local school has a service office or student run community service group. Lots of high schools have all of this listed on their website, or just talk to a secretary." •  Get buy in from parents. If I ever need an event staffed, I tell my athletes – but I ALSO let them know that Iʼll be sending the same info to their parents. (It helps their selective memory).!


High School Athletes & Service Hours

Be Generous... When signing off on the hours. Need an event staffed on short notice? “If you get X number of your friends to show up with you, I can sign off on an extra hour of work…”
 When thanking for those volunteers. HS kids are relatively low maintenance - free food / extra neon (Neon is in).!


Agenda

Case Study: Charles River Underpasses High School Athletes & Service Hours Resources to Find/Connect to Athletes


Resources to Find / Connect to Athletes

Weekly Fun Runs •  Many running clubs / running stores / local bars have weekly fun runs. Good way to connect to groups of runners & a way for your organization to get in 'for free' (not having to pay for sponsorship table / entries to race / etc). " •  Can be beginning of relationship with groups of athletes in your community who may not even see themselves as that they just meet their friends for a run and a beer! " •  Allows you to have informal conversations. Of course, better to drop a line to a contact ahead of time or stop by as a participant than just showing up with a handful of flyers."


Resources to Find / Connect to Athletes

Running Clubs •  How to find running clubs? 
 Colleges typically have a club that isnʼt part of athletics dept
 Good resource is USA Track & Field - New England website.


http://www.usatfne.org/member/clubs.html



Resources to Find / Connect to Athletes

Running Stores • Ask questions at your local running store. They will know everything about weekly runs / clubs (and how to get a good pair of shoes), and where you can find people to talk to. 
 Examples:
 Marathon Sports
 Rhode Runner



Resources to Find / Connect to Athletes

Running Publications •  Read What They Read. You probably know Runners World, but check out some of the local coverage, too. 
 Examples:
 New England Runner
 Level Renner



Resources to Find / Connect to Athletes

Find Races •  There are a lot of races each weekend in New England. You can consult a number of places for calendars & contact info in case you want to reach out to 
 a race director about partnerships. 
 Remember: make sure to show 
 the benefit to the RACE, not just 
 that youʼre a great cause. 
 RaceMenu.com
 Coolrunning.com" RunRhody.com



Resources to Find / Connect to Athletes

FundRacing •  Everyone has heard about charity numbers for marathons but…sites like CrowdRise make it very easy for anyone to raise money for any registered 501(c)3 – at any race/event. "


Thank You! Brendan Kearney Development / Communications Manager, WalkBoston Email: bkearney@walkboston.org Twitter: @walkboston


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