The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program in Polk County is partnering with members of Florida Southern’s student-run digital agency, Lux12, to produce a social media strategy that builds awareness of the organization’s main mission of collecting and distributing toys to less fortunate children during the holidays.
David Waller, local coordinator of Marine Toys for Tots, is working with the student group from FSC’s Department of Communication to increase the program’s digital visibility. Members of the Lux12 agency are producing original videos and aim to boost the nonprofit’s web profile via Facebook messaging, with a secondary goal of attracting and training new volunteers.
“Our program needs attention in the social media arena,” Waller said, “to get information out about our events, our fundraising activities, and our feel-good stories. They were looking to work with a nonprofit, so I met with the students and gave them my vision of what we wanted to do.”
When working with Toys for Tots, “the empathy factor is high,” Allen said. “The hardships and the needs give a real, tangible element to the purpose of the campaign.”
William Allen, associate professor of digital media at Florida Southern, started Lux12 to give real-world opportunities to the agency’s student administrators and staffers – most of whom are Communication majors – through creative partnerships with both nonprofit and for-profit clients. Each service arrangement lasts at least three years.
In addition to enhancing their clients’ social media presence, the two teams of Lux12 staffers monitor the impact of their efforts and report back to their clients through periodic meetings and presentations. When working with Toys for Tots, “the empathy factor is high,” Allen said. “The hardships and the needs give a real, tangible element to the purpose of the campaign.”
Julia Couch, a junior from Atlanta, Ga., is the director of the student agency and has been involved from the start in forging a client relationship with Toys for Tots. During the past semester, Lux12 has focused on separate campaigns to increase the number of active volunteers and to boost donations of new, unwrapped toys within Polk County.
“We talked with them about the importance of reaching very targeted audiences,” Couch said, “to create a more structured plan for their social media content. We also created a training video for volunteers, plus a short narrative piece to encourage people to give toys.”
As the local Toys for Tots coordinator, Waller hopes to sees benefits from the group’s partnership with Lux12 that will go beyond the standard holiday rush.
“We supply toys to needy children in Polk County when there is a need throughout the year,” he explained, “when a house burns down, or if there is a need for a child because of a traumatic experience.” Increasing the group’s visibility through FSC’s social media efforts should help direct volunteers to the program and its website, he said.