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In the post below, guest blogger Melissa Crossman reflects on the lessons to be learned from this year’s Super Bowl Host Committee.
Guest post by Melissa Crossman
While the New York Giants will reign until next year as victors of the Super Bowl, volunteers’ efforts for the Big Game produced wins even more enduring. From providing a model for other nonprofits on how to recruit, cooperating with other organizations, and using social media like a pro, Indy’s host city volunteer committee pulled off a massive task with skill, class and aplomb.
Centered around great communications
Early in the planning stages, the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee focused on communication as the central point for all its endeavors. Throughout the preparation, social media was the equivalent of an offensive line, the workhorses of planners who needed to be both flexible and responsive to changes.
Using a website to ground all social media activity, a common practice among many successful messaging efforts, the volunteer organization created highly visible entry points for the groups’ many tasks, including the need to recruit, assess and train thousands of volunteers.
The volunteer page provided interested parties with a concise view of what needs existed and links to three different levels of volunteer uses. Saving printing costs and disseminating critical information, the site also included links to the volunteer handbooks.
Reaching out to local resources
One chief reason for the success of the social media effort had to do with the host organization’s recruiting of local talent in the high tech field of communications, something for which Indianapolis is now becoming well known.
Indiana’s Circle City is home to the famed racing spectacle held around each Memorial Day, but in the past decade, it’s become the home to several nationally-known tech firms. Two of these, ExactTarget and Raidious, provided leadership and expertise for the host organization’s communications committee. This collaboration paid off with timely notices for followers of the website, Facebook Page and Twitter accounts, not to mention traditional media activity.
During the week of the Super Bowl, crowds of wired out-of-town visitors stayed informed about traffic, parking, special events and pedestrian bottlenecks that kept tens of thousands of fans moving in the right direction.
IU Health teams up for greater awareness
When large-scale events arrive in your area on a temporary basis, leverage it. Prior to February’s game, the host committee didn’t neglect raising awareness of Indianapolis’ status as host city by cooperating with other well-known causes not normally associated with sporting events.
A good example of this is how the Super Bowl Host Committee collaborated directly with Indiana University Health to raise awareness for a good cause. The host committee and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center launched the initiative, Indy Super Cure. The initiative was named for its funding donor, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® the internationally known foundation promoting breast cancer treatment and research. The tissue bank established the goal for Indy Super Cure of securing hundreds of breast tissue donors during a dedicated Super Bowl event held on January 28 and 29.
Through the combined awareness campaign of both organizations, the event garnered nearly 700 donors, a great success supported by volunteer collaboration. Planning this event when there was a temporary influx of population and a spotlight on the community already helped the project succeed.
A model for volunteer groups, big and small
The lessons for volunteer managers are not necessarily new, but the level of execution is worth special notice. Knowing when to target your efforts and who to pair with to ensure great results is one take-home lesson not to be missed. With a little help, coordinators can focus more on providing the content and materials needed when volunteers who share your passion materialize.
Melissa Crossman is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She writes extensively about social media and community health matters.