I have spent the last eight years of my life developing messaging for a giant corporation. And while I enjoyed being the interface between stakeholders and the company, that was nothing compared with working with Arms Wide Adoption Services as part of AMA Houston’s Gives Back Program. The experience was wholly more fulfilling and satisfying as it felt as if I were truly contributing to something that could make a societal difference.
Changing the Narrative
One of the projects on which I worked was to develop messages to convince prospective adoptive parents to consider a fostering situation. The need for foster parents in the Houston area is dire, and there are not enough families considering this as an option when they want to expand their families. The messages needed to address and allay their fears of losing the children to whom they would undoubtedly become attached.
Rather than barrage them with statistics, which we did use as part of the presentation, we worked on language that would appeal to their hearts and their want and need to help. For example, some of the wording described how prospective parents’ responsibilities would be to provide one of the first safe environments for a child who was going through a life trauma. We explained that they could help build a child’s trust for adults when all they had ever known was fear and uncertainty.
To our delight, this language did help turn some of the prospective adoptive parents to consider fostering as an option. They already wanted to help, and this just nudged them into a slightly different direction that would satisfy their desire to contribute and assist the agency with recruiting more foster parents.
Crafting the Language
Arms Wide Adoption already knew what they wanted to say, but had not been able to craft the language to hit the mark. On weekly calls, I listened a lot to what they wanted to convey to prospective parents. I then wove the words in a different way to address what the parents might want to hear given their mindset of already being engaged in the process.
Working for a large corporation has its own rewards and gratifications. But working with an adoption agency through the Gives Back program, listening to the plight of thousands of children in the system and the prospective parents who desperately wanted to contribute, allowed my work to be so much more meaningful and purposeful. I encourage any communications/marketing professional to take some time to contribute to this program. Learn more about Gives Back, the application process, apply now, learn more about our 2020 grant recipients, donate today, or volunteer.
Kim Jordan is a public affairs professional with experience in journalism, public relations agency work, and corporation communications. She has worked with Exxon Mobil Corporation, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and Bloomberg News. Her work has included media relations, stakeholder engagement, social media content creation, executive training, and crisis communications. She has led award-winning teams across the country to deliver strategies to meet client goals.