Published on March 12, 2014
Andrea Jensen Brian Kearney Tyler Mulvey James Roh Lisa Santeramo Jaclyn Tellefsen
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 2 Client Overview (Written by: Tyler Mulvey) Founded in 1978 by Glassboro State College professor Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, Odyssey of the Mind celebrated its 30-year anniversary in 2008. Recognized as a creative problem solving competition, Odyssey of the Mind grew from being in 28 New Jersey schools to an international organization. Besides the United States, more than 24 other countries consistently compete. The competition is open to students in kindergarten through college. Students work as a team solving five long-term problems. The categories for the long-term problems include mechanical/vehicle, technical performance, classics, structure and performance. Teams who win state finals and national finals compete in World Finals. Because the competition judges are volunteers, the program faces challenges regarding recruiting. Destination Imagination, Odyssey of the Mind’s biggest competition, offers more inviting volunteer opportunities on their website. Training is available online for Destination Imagination. In addition, Destination Imagination showcases photos from past competitions, features testimonials from past volunteers and provides descriptions for various volunteer positions. In the past, Odyssey of the Mind experienced an unsuccessful Public Relations campaign. Odyssey of the Mind faces problems recruiting new volunteers. According to Odyssey of the Mind, the program lacks a national recruitment initiative. Our survey regarding volunteer habits provides new information never previously analyzed. Word of mouth carried Odyssey of the Mind this far, however, enlisting new volunteers from outside the organization remains the central focus. Global Ambition (Written by: Tyler Mulvey) In 12 months, Odyssey of the Mind wants to increase volunteerism by 25 percent while retaining 50 percent of its current volunteers. Primary Research (Written by: Andrea Jensen) Conducted by: Brian Kearney (Utah) Tyler Mulvey (New Jersey) Jaclyn Tellefsen (California) Questions provided by Group 8 Volunteer employees from Odyssey of the Mind in three different states participated in an online survey over the course of a week. An Associated Director from each state – including California, New Jersey, and Utah – received the online survey and
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 3 distributed it accordingly to their volunteer base. A total of 107 participants answered the 10-question survey, providing multiple choice answers as well as written dialog detailing their experiences. Unfortunately, the New Jersey branch of Odyssey of the Mind rendered no results, however the Utah and California branches – both experienced different dynamics – participated. The majority of participants from for California and Utah have no prior experience with Odyssey of the Mind outside of volunteering and plan to volunteer for OOTM again in the future. Only 10 participants from California said they would not return to volunteer again. When asked how they felt while working with supervisors, volunteers from both states responded with generally positive results and had positive results for their overall volunteering experience with Odyssey of the Mind. Utah’s participants all felt comfortable and at ease while working with OOTM staff and a majority of California’s volunteers responded similarly, however 10 participants felt there was more to be desired. The survey revealed three main types of avenues participants took to become volunteers. Both states had similar results. The majority of participants parented children that took part in the program. Teachers from schools also volunteered to help with their students and the third group composed mainly of those who fulfilled other roles in OOTM (past/retired judges, coaches). The pattern displayed that in all cases, volunteers had a vested interest in the children that partook in the program. Participants gave numerous benefits for volunteers in the program. The most popular benefit most give was the time they spent with the children and watching teams exercise creativity and problem-solving skills. A few volunteers mentioned beneficial qualities the program provided to them personally, including managerial skills and the opportunity to meet new people. Participants found few obstacles they needed to overcome in the program, although those provided comprised of the timing involved with volunteering, traveling distance, and the demand for more volunteers. Program training for volunteers remains helpful for most although many participants from California suggested the use of online video training programs they could access at their own convenience. Participants expressed overwhelming positivity towards communication within the program and felt no need to revise the current system. Several ideas members provided about various techniques to garner public awareness for volunteering include: Promoting through social media such as Facebook, Twitter Recruiting more help from teachers and public figures through email contacts Incentives for high school and college volunteers Provide more program and volunteer information to parents of schoolchildren through meetings or pamphlets.
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 4 Secondary Research (Conducted by: Andrea Jensen, Lisa Santeramo, Jaclyn Tellefsen, James Roh, Tyler Mulvey, Brian Kearney) Odyssey of the Mind Interview (Written by: Andrea Jensen) Research conducted by Brian Kearney, Jaclyn Tellefsen , James Roh, Lisa Santeramo, Tyler Mulvey and Andrea Jensen. Group spoke to Samuel Micklus in person and gathered information about Odyssey of the Mind and its relationship with volunteers as well as its struggle to garner new volunteer support. Odyssey of the Mind (OOTM), founded by former Rowan University (former Glassboro State College) Professor Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, strives to motivate children, teens, and young adults to think outside of the box using various challenges and techniques in the form of competition to accelerate their learning experiences. The organization currently maintains around 20,000 volunteers from around the world. Since the organization spans across countries and states, clientele and perception among varying cultures and regions differ from one another, making it difficult to sustain new support systems. This especially rings true with newer markets in smaller states, for example Utah. Odyssey of the Mind recruits around 400 volunteers a year, having to turn away 200 in the process. Volunteerism at lower levels remains steady, however, the higher the level of volunteer, the lower the turnover rate. OOTM currently seeks out new volunteers each year in order to judge other competing teams. The organization tried reaching out to alumni to help get involved in the volunteer program but the alumni association currently in place fails to meet requests or act on given information. Alumni provide a bias and loyalty toward their alma maters instead of holding loyalty toward the entire program. Content Analysis: OOTM Packet/Information Folder (Written by: Lisa Santeramo) 2013-14 Long-Term Problem Synopses This information sheet is targeted to the teams that are involved with the Odyssey of the Mind program. It lists the long-term problems from one to five and the final primary, or creative problem which is The World’s First Arts Festival. Each problem is available for certain divisions with a certain cost limit for each team’s final product or design. The sheet gives detailed information per problem but still allowing room for creativity and cleverness to take part. Odyssey Angels Odyssey of the Mind is in the midst of creating a small advertisement or flyer for people to discover the new program. This is an informational flyer with detailed information about how this new program works and how the audience can become
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 5 involved in it. It is targeted to team members who receive this information packet, as well as parents or volunteers who want to get involved. It primarily targets Odyssey students specifically, because members involved must be involved in the Odyssey of the Mind program, on a team for instance. The advertisement is clear and easy to read. It displays the Odyssey of the Mind logo for consistency and offers a place to reach out and find out more (website). Fact Sheet The Odyssey of the Mind fact sheet is a little unorganized although it answers necessary questions that many new students or teams may have about the company or program. However, it seems a little deceiving with the layout or design of the sheet. It also would look better in color with the pictures provided on the sidebar. Biography The sidebar is perfect in delivering necessary bullet points that allow the reader or audience to get a quick glimpse or Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, founder of Odyssey of the Mind. The rest of the biography sheet is insightful, easy to read and visually appealing. It is important to include sheets like this, and the fact sheet, into this folder for all teams and coaches. This helps each team get to know more about the program and the background behind it to help spread the word. However, the biography sheet and fact sheet should become one, either front and back or all on one page. Odyssey of the Mind Letter to Coaches The letter to coaches or coordinators is targeted to those who volunteer as the team’s coach. It is important and informational helping to guide the coaches along the way of their team’s problem-solving journey. However, there are slight typos near the end which shows that the letter is lacking. Also, different bulleted lists or bolded keywords would be more helpful for the audience that this is reaching out to. Homestay Information Sheet This information is given to the U.S. Host Teams. It talks about the experience along the way with Odyssey of the Mind. It is targeted to the students of the program on the teams who receive this packet or whose coaches receive this packet. It gives all the information teams need as far as competitions, World Finals, and more. Most importantly, it leaves out contact information for those who have any more questions concerning Homestay, meaning: lodging, meals, planned activities, transportation and more. It also allows the audience to view more information about the Homestay program online at the website given. Finally, on the back of the fact sheet there are testimonials about this program which is very helpful for teams and their coaches or parents. This makes the program much more credible in the eyes of parents, and even students who are undecided about it. Speaking of testimonials for this program, the fact sheet of Odyssey of the Mind should also include a testimonial section which allows people to see what others are saying about the program overall. Scholarship Application Form Team Member Contract Self-explanatory Contact Sheet: Association of Directors
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 6 Quick Tips for Coaches This sheet is very important and informational for coaches. However, it seems too long for coaches. Reducing the amount of words or characters used for each bullet point may help to retain coaches, volunteers, or team members. The amount of information in this packet is important, but may be able to be condensed so that the audience definitely understands and reads everything that they must know. Some things seem repetitive or can be condensed and included in other areas of the packet. 2013-2014 Program Guide This is the most important part of this packet because it is something that is updated every year and must be read and understood by every team and every coach. It is well designed, and easy to read with an included table of contents. It allows teams and coaches to bookmark certain parts, make highlights, and search for exactly what they may be looking for with bold headlines, keywords, and bulleted lists. Perhaps the information given in this booklet can include the separate fact sheets and all. Small advertisements could also be included inside this book which would make the entire packet look less intimidating for some. However, it is understood that those who receive this packet are teams that much know this information before participating, so it is known that they will read through everything thoroughly. SWOT ANALYSIS: Odyssey of the Mind Website (Written by: Brian Kearney) Strengths Ability to register on site Contact information for local associations Short explanation on homepage Weaknesses Difficult to navigate Abundance of information/cluttered Inconsistent branding Heavy in copy Unclear about incentives Low amount of multimedia content Only in English Homepage untidy Costs are hidden within site Opportunities Links to social media networks Testimonials from past participants, volunteers, etc. Specific sections/portal entrances for volunteers, participants, coaches, etc. Increase multimedia Content in other languages Explain how/why OOTM was started
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 7 Threats Loss of interest because of navigation difficulty Inability to find correct section for more information Not taken seriously because of inconsistent branding Non-English speaking visitors Content Analysis: OOTM in the News & Other Related OOTM Websites (Written by James Roh) http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/norwood-school-embraces-odyssey- of-the-mind-competition/2013/05/21/8b6a177c-b74e-11e2-aa9e- a02b765ff0ea_story.html Maryland’s Norwood school is one of four schools entering the Odyssey of the Mind’s world finals. Norwood school will have four teams competing in the world finals, more than any other local school. “It’s a really fun experience and worth the time and effort it takes” said sixth-grader Nicholas Polanksy. It gives students a creative and intricate approach on solving the problems given. Odyssey of the Mind is expanding their market to several schools and their making a tremendous impact. http://newsok.com/oklahoma-state-university-team-takes-first-place-at-odyssey-of-the- mind-world-finals/article/3841129 Oklahoma State’s Madi Green is a member of OSU’s Odyssey of the Mind team. Her team took first place at the competition’s world finals. Green explains how honored she is to win her division but still struggles to explain to friends and family what Odyssey is. “That’s actually a running joke among all of us. It’s really hard, if you’re not in it, to understand what it is” says Madi Green. Placing first in the world finals is truly an honorable accomplishment yet people still struggle to understand what this program is. http://www.thereporteronline.com/article/RO/20130802/NEWS/130809964 Odyssey of the Mind is finally gaining some momentum within the North Penn School District. Its first-ever summer camp for grades K-9 was held in August 2013. Shortly after the world finals in May, North Penn school district has a head start to next year’s world finals. “We’re hoping to grow the program at North Penn. We’re hoping the kids will tell their friends and classmates so we can get more teams” said Joanna Wiernusz, a parent and member of the district’s technology department. At the camp, the 28 students were divided into five teams. High school-level Odyssey of the Mind students helped kids work on specific skills. It seems like OOTM has a bigger fan base then we expected. The OOTM Company and world finals have seem to spark the interest of many news segments
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 8 throughout the nation. Something interesting we discovered is every state seems to have an OOTM website as opposed to one universal website. Considering every state has their own structured website, when we seek volunteers it should be a lot easier for those parties to register and navigate their own state’s website. It seems like OOTM has received a lot more recognition throughout media, schools, parents, and teachers than we anticipated. The frequent coverage OOTM receives will be crucial to finding volunteers. DVD Content Analysis (Conducted and written by Jaclyn Tellefsen and Tyler Mulvey) Content analysis evaluates any form of video including animation, ten-minute duration, contest highlights, and testimonials. Conducted a content analysis of OOTM’s video comparing it to competitor Destination Imagination’s DVD Odyssey of the Mind’s DVD lacks modern film techniques that would aid recruitment of students and volunteers. Odyssey of the Mind’s DVD shows low quality with busy and distracting backgrounds. In contrast, Destination Imagination’s homepage video holds more contemporary filming with an inviting setting. Destination Imagination’s website includes a video section including educator interviews, sponsor interviews, participant testimonials, and special projects. Destination Imagination has over 50 available videos. Odyssey of the Mind has one available video. A content analysis indicates the DVD covers all angles of the program’s agenda Odyssey of the Mind’s video shows national testimonials. Destination Imagination’s homepage video shows testimonials from Nebraska. The instructional DVD contains three-dimensional skits illustrating the importance of creative thinking in addition to displaying the importance of the benefits of past participants. Audience (Written by: Lisa Santeramo) Internal Audience: Members of the organizational family that hold a vested interest in the outcome of an organizations o Example: Current OOTM volunteers who plan to continuously participate in events within the organization. External Audience: Individuals or groups outside of the organization, but with an interest in the fate of the company. o Example: Potential volunteers who have not volunteered for OOTM before, but may or may not plan to or have interest in volunteering. Intermediary Audience: “Gates” or “gatekeepers” that public relations practitioners must go through to reach a target audience.
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 9 o Example: Media outlets that are engaged at local, national, and international OOTM events such as regional tournaments or World Finals. Special Audience: External audiences that hold a special positive or negative relationship with the organization. o Example: Past volunteers who have chosen not to return, or who were forced not to return, to the organization for any positive or negative reason. Audience Segment Internal External Current volunteers Parents Potential volunteers Teachers, Administrators, other educators Intermediary Special Media Assistant Directors Past volunteers Alumni Audiences listed in bold represent primary audiences intended to target specifically. Our primary target audience is potential volunteers, which can include both past volunteers, current volunteers, and alumni. Each of these audiences has the potential to volunteer for OOTM whether they are just beginning or they are returning again. A variety of messages, strategies, and tactics will tackle the persuasion of each of these audiences. Since they are each separated on the segment (and ranking) charts, they must be targeted differently with separate messages which all relate back to a common theme. Teachers, administrators, and other educational influences outside of the organization can be determined as potential volunteers. Parents of children within the OOTM program can also be targeted as potential volunteers but internally rather than externally because they are already familiar and engaged within the company. Audience Ranking Chart This chart explains the target audience’s in relevance to their importance and how they should be targeted. It explains how engaged or likely to be engaged each audience may or may not be for the overall specific goal. The most important audiences that will remain targeted are current volunteers, past volunteers, and alumni. The results of the actions of these audiences will help to provide a stronger foundation to recruit potential volunteers and increase OOTM’s volunteerism base. Must Influence Should Influence Likely to Influence Parents Current Volunteers Media Alumni
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 10 Unlikely to Influence Teachers, Administrators, other educators Past volunteers Potential Volunteers Assistant Directors First Audience: Current Volunteers (Written by: Lisa Santeramo) Audience Profile: OOTM needs to retain its current volunteers as well as find new ways to recruit potential, long-term volunteers. It is important for OOTM to retain its current volunteer base because this is the audience that will be most influenced since they are already so involved within the organization. This audience can even be used to influence other audiences such as potential or past volunteers because they can act as models for the position or provide testimonials to recruit more volunteers. Current volunteers targeted include those in states such as: New Jersey, California, and Utah. Force Field Analysis The Force Field Analysis shows attitudes and behaviors of individual target audiences. Driving and restraining forces are pinned against each other, and scored based on primary research. A one denotes weak forces and a five denotes strong forces. Audience: Current Volunteers Driving Force Restraining Force Benefits company, children, other teachers/educators, and the entirety of OOTM events with the support of volunteers. --------------- (3) OOTM is in need of potential long-term volunteers and can provide those interested with necessary information based on request. ------------------------- (4) OOTM events are random and sporadic throughout the year. --------------- (3) Volunteering helps build up resumes and opens up opportunities for other jobs or chances to network. ------------------------------------ (5) Total: 15 Volunteers are unpaid and must find their own ways to travel to all OOTM events; (lack of motivation). (3) --------------------- Interested volunteers want to be able to access guides on the company website to make it easier to read the foundation/requirements of a volunteer & how to sign up. (Website does not include a section for volunteers) (5) --------------------------------------- Potential volunteers have other jobs and events they must attend to first. (Don’t have time to volunteer and dedicate their time without set dates or times). (4) ----------------------------- There are many other companies to volunteer for, or many other opportunities to build up resumes that include compensation. (4) ---------------------------- Total: 16 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 11 Key Finding: Current volunteers feel as though their service benefits the company, but there may be lack of communication and organization for the volunteer foundation. With a more organized and strategic plan of action for volunteers, current volunteers will feel appreciated and enjoy their service with the company. Change Agent Message Chart These charts show real state versus ideal state. Real state explains what a particular audience presently thinks. Ideal state represents what the organization wants the audience to think in the future. The change agent message shows how the organization will get the audience from the real state to the ideal state. Audience: Current Volunteers Present Knowledge, or Attitudes or Behavior (Real State) Change Agent Message Desired: R-I-C, Reinforce, Install, Change (Ideal State) According to research, current volunteers are happy and satisfied with their experience in the OOTM organization, but only knew about the program because they have been in it or have had children/friends/family that have participated in the program. OOTM must branch out from the word-of-mouth technique and form new ways to recruit new volunteers and ways to retain current volunteers. More accessibility on the website can help volunteers have a place to go to find out everything they need to know and why it is so awesome to volunteer at OOTM events. They need to know benefits and responsibilities and how their help can support the company and its growth. Current volunteers will feel better organized and adjusted in the OOTM organizational system and will help spread the word about the new ways volunteers can get involved and how they can benefit from it. Although volunteers are not getting paid for their duties, they are receiving some type of personal benefit or appreciation for their time served. MAC Triad Chart Audience Message Channel Current Volunteers The success of our company and eagerness to help children become more creative thinkers relies on the foundation of your help and service. Special events Volunteer newsletters Website portion Meetings YouTube channel Local newspapers Local radio stations
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 12 Channel and Media Selection Engaging current volunteers into more than just the events that they have to participate in during certain days out of the year is important not just for the company to retain these volunteers but to help OOTM recruit additional volunteers. If current volunteers are satisfied with their experience at OOTM, enjoy how they were treated, believed that they mattered within the organization and had some sort of benefit from volunteering, they will be more inclined to set good reviews, or positive testimonials which will then help the recruiting process for new or potential volunteers. Currently, OOTM struggles with recruiting and maintaining a reliable volunteer base. It is difficult to recruit and maintain volunteers because they are simply not employees: they cannot be told what to do and there can’t be very high expectations from them. However, this needs to change in order for OOTM to build a stronger volunteer program. If there are certain known benefits to volunteering with OOTM, it will be easy for current volunteers to relay that message onto future or potential volunteers. This ongoing theme or message about benefits of volunteerism can go a long way as long as it is distributed in the right way and through the right channel so it gets to the specific and needed audience. For example, using local media in the three designated states (NJ, CA, and UT) such as newspapers, individual OOTM newsletters (online or print) and radio stations can help spread the word to potential volunteers that this may be a great opportunity for them or a friend. Just like there is an effort in recruiting new teams and schools into the OOTM program, there needs to be the same effort (with a different message) to obtain new, reliable volunteers. Local media works well because it personally reaches out to those in that specific geographic area and allows them to feel special, wanted, and responsible for this opportunity. Additionally, an online portion of the website (international or each state-wide OOTM website) must be dedicated to current volunteers, so they have a chance to interact and see who is doing what. This is also a chance to give out certain rewards for volunteers to satisfy them, retain them, and potentially attract others. With portions of the website dedicated to volunteers, it will be easier to communicate information with some sort of Intranet database for current volunteers or even their own monthly newsletter. Second Audience: Past Volunteers (Written by: Jaclyn Tellefsen) Audience Profile: OOTM needs past volunteers to help gain volunteerism and reach its goal of retaining current volunteers. Past volunteers are important because they can help represent OOTM. Past volunteers will help spread positive messages and images regarding OOTM to new and potential volunteers. The past volunteers’ negative comments will help OOTM make improvements among their volunteer foundation.
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 13 Force Field Analysis Audience: Past Volunteers Driving Force Restraining Force Benefits company, children, and makes volunteers feel wanted and appreciated. --------------- (3) Past volunteers can regain and retain volunteers and increase the OOTM foundation. ------------------------- (4) OOTM will provide a monthly sign up calendar allowing communication --------------- (3) Total: 10 Volunteers are unmotivated because they are not being paid (4) ---------------------- Volunteers had a negative experience with OOTM. (5) --------------------------------------- Past volunteers might not have the time to communicate with OOTM on a monthly basis. (4) ----------------------------- Total: 13 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 Key Finding: Past volunteers were unmotivated and had undesirable experience within the OOTM program. They would have been more satisfied with benefits and stronger communication within the committee. Change Agent Message Chart Audience: Past Volunteers Present Knowledge, or Attitudes or Behavior (Real State) Change Agent Message Desired: R-I-C, Reinforce, Install, Change (Ideal State) According to a recent survey, past volunteers had a positive experience with OOTM but believe there weren’t any true “benefits” of volunteering. Past volunteers believe having a famous engineer would help not only promote the program but recruit more volunteers. OOTM must show their appreciation for their volunteers during and after their contributions. OOTM must also motivate their volunteers. OOTM must keep in contact and have communication with their new, current, and past volunteers. Past volunteers will be motivated and feel appreciated. Their positive experience with OOTM will retain past volunteers as well as gain new volunteers.
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 14 MAC Triad Chart Audience Message Channel Past Volunteers With your past commitment, you can help expand the foundation of OOTM and gain and retain the basis for volunteers. Special events Volunteer newsletters Website portion Meetings Monthly Calendar Sign ups Channel and Media Selection OOTM will use media and channels such as meetings, face-to-face, and monthly sign up calendars to retain past volunteers. Face-to-face meetings will allow the volunteer to know what is expected of him or her. Face-to-face meetings also show appreciation for the volunteer as well as how they can also motivate prospective volunteers. A monthly sign up calendar allows volunteers to return to scheduled events and keep their involvement with OOTM. The OOTM website will help gain and regain the attention of past volunteers. The website should have a portion dedicated to past volunteers regarding their positive or negative. Third Audience: Alumni (Written by: Jaclyn Tellefsen & Lisa Santeramo) Audience Profile: Alumni act as opinion leaders to reach OOTM’s external audiences. Their voice will help spread positive messages, including testimonials based on their experience with OOTM. Alumni can help OOTM’s volunteer recruiting process because they have had hands-on and personal experiences with the organization. Their individual knowledge and experience can help influence potential volunteers by learning about the positive and negative aspects of the volunteer program. Alumni can help draw the real benefits of the program that can help volunteers involved in the organization or help to influence potential volunteers.
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 15 Force Field Analysis Audience: Alumni Driving Force Restraining Force Grew up with the program or have participated with OOTM in the past. ------------- (3) Alumni can influence and provide information to potential volunteers because of their expertise with the company. -------------------- (4) Alumni can build up resumes for future employment. ------------------------- (5) Total: 12 Didn’t want to participate but felt forced to be involved (by parents, schools, etc.) (4) ------------------------------- People may not trust testimonials without valid facts or their own hands-on experiences. (4) --------------------------------- Company may not be recognizable by all employers. (4)------------------------------- Total: 12 1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1 Change Agent Message Chart Audience: Alumni Present Knowledge, or Attitudes or Behavior (Real State) Change Agent Message Desired: R-I-C, Reinforce, Install, Change (Ideal State) According to research, alumni are interested in working with OOTM in the future to help with the recruiting process. OOTM must influence alumni in a way that will benefit them as well as help the company in the volunteer recruiting process. Alumni will feel that they have helped the company succeed. They will become more interested and engaged in the company in a positive way and feel a sense of achievement with their participation in the recruiting process. MAC Triad Chart Audience Message Channel Alumni Your personal experiences with OOTM can help us influence potential volunteers to build further success for the future of the company. Website portion: testimonials Email newsletters Brochures Hand outs within information packet
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 16 Channel and Media Selection: Alumni will be targeted through the company website and personal alumni email and direct mail newsletters. It will be easiest and most convenient to reach this audience virtually because they are more inclined in using technology. In addition, we will dedicate a portion of the website to make it easier for alumni to write reviews, communicate with directors and other alumni, and share past experiences. We can also provide a question and answer portion so potential volunteers can have their questions answered by alumni who have been involved with program and the people involved in it. This can be overall, for the international website, and also be available by state. Channels Face-to-Face Print Internet/Online Media Special events Monthly calendar signups Meetings Direct mail newsletter Local newspapers Hand outs Fact sheets Information packets Brochures Website Social media platforms YouTube channel Email newsletters Variables (Written by: Brian Kearney) Competition The main competition for Odyssey of the Mind is Destination Imagination. This is an established organization with clear goals and explanations directly on the homepage of the website. This organization has partnered with Fortune 500 companies and been sponsored by other global companies, giving Destination Imagination much more credibility, resources and participants. Budget/Resources The following proposed budget is for each Association: Description Cost (annually) Intern (one intern every month) $3,000 Online Survey Service $200 Misc. Expenses $500 Total $3,700
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 17 Intern The intern will be used for collecting, analyzing and organizing data received from surveys taken by volunteers. We suggest that each Association compensate an intern $25/day as a stipend and require them to work 10 days a month. This will help keep costs low while recruiting competent, hardworking individuals. Online Survey Service Subscribing to an online survey service will allow each Association to collect data from its volunteers and make changes based on results. For example, volunteers may feel a lack of communication from its Association, which will become clear to higher-ranking volunteers through survey results. Timing We estimate that disseminating surveys and receiving results will take about two weeks. Analyzing results and noting any trends, notable answers and other related marks will take about two weeks as well. The implementation of new procedures and/or practices will vary based on Associations, but we estimate a timeframe of one to two months. Research Questions Online Survey 1. What is your gender? a. Male b. Female 2. What is your age? a. 18-24 years old b. 25-34 years old c. 35-44 years old d. 45-54 years old e. 55-64 years old f. 65-74 years old g. 75 years or older 3. Please specify your ethnicity: a. Hispanic or Latino b. Not Hispanic or Latino 4. Please specify your race: a. American Indian or Alaska Native
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 18 b. Asian c. Black or African American d. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander e. White 5. What is the highest degree or level of school/education you have completed? If currently enrolled, highest degree received. a. No schooling completed b. Some high school, no diploma c. High school graduate, diploma or the equivalent (for example: GED) d. Some college credit, no degree e. Trade/technical/vocational training f. Associate degree g. Bachelor’s degree h. Master’s degree i. Professional degree j. Doctorate degree 6. Employment Status: Are you currently… a. Employed for wages b. Self-employed c. Out or work and looking for work d. Out of work but not currently looking for work e. A homemaker f. A student g. Military h. Retired i. Unable to work 7. In which state do you currently reside? ___________________________________________ 8. What is your marital status? a. Now married b. Widowed c. Divorced d. Separated e. Never married
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 19 Survey Questions 1. Did you participate in Odyssey of the Mind growing up? a. Yes b. No 2. Do you plan on volunteering again in the future? a. Yes b. No 3. Have you volunteered for OOTM before? a. Yes b. No 4. Have you recommended volunteering for OOTM to a family, friend, or other? a. Yes b. No 5. Would you recommend volunteering for OOTM to a family, friend, or other? a. Yes b. No 6. How appreciated did your volunteer supervisor make you feel? Appreciated Not Appreciated Extremely Quite Slightly Neutral Slightly Quite Extremely 7. How would you rate your experience volunteering? Good Bad Extremely Quite Slightly Neither Slightly Quite Extremely
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 20 8. How easy was it to get along with the staff (including other volunteers) at this organization? Easy Hard Extremely Quite Slightly Neutral Slightly Quite 9. How did you get involved volunteering? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 10. What benefits have you experienced through volunteering? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 11. What’s been your biggest obstacle throughout the volunteering process? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 12. What training or access to information would help you to be more effective as a volunteer? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 13. If you were to volunteer again next year, what would you change? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 14. What do you think would be the best way for the program to recruit more volunteers? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 15. How would you describe your typical activities with the program? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 21 16. What supports, tools or practices have been most helpful in your time as a volunteer with the program? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 17. How would you describe the communication between your association and you (as a volunteer)? How would you improve it? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ Research Actions Online Survey Website Content Analysis Position (Written by: Tyler Mulvey) Ideally, Odyssey of the Mind will gain volunteers through information provided from surveys and obtain a high quality and quantity of volunteers. Odyssey of the Mind wants to increase volunteerism by 25 percent and retain 50 percent of current volunteers by month six. The website will provide benefits and descriptions of various positions. An aesthetically pleasing volunteer page with online training encourages involvement and removes any doubt regarding being too busy. We want to position Odyssey of the Mind as a rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity volunteers can participate in without competing. Pitching the media opportunities to cover team practices provides valuable exposure. Posting information on local patch sites potentially sparks resident’s desire to get involved. In addition, a strong social media campaign helps engage and persuade local residents. With understanding Odyssey of the Mind, visual explanation is paramount. Seeing the competition and student participation provides more benefits than word of mouth. Odyssey of the Mind also wants to increase volunteer knowledge of benefits by 90 percent by month 12. Testimonials from past volunteers on the website and social media platforms, provides inexpensive promotion. The testimonials in turn give potential volunteers concrete references to relate to. Also, testimonials from past participants who became successful also will motivate past participants to help give back to the organization they once belonged to. Because retention rates of volunteers are low, we plan to retain previous year volunteers by 50 percent by month 12. Through positive relationships and sending personal thank-you notes, volunteers will feel valued and appreciated. A feature in a monthly newsletter and personalized e-mails for upcoming events help volunteers recognize their positive impact.
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 22 Issues & Objectives (Written by: James Roh) Issues Corresponding Objectives Potential volunteers lack knowledge of Odyssey of the Mind. Provide potential volunteers with necessary information regarding Odyssey of the Mind program. Volunteers are unaware of the benefits of volunteering. Demonstrate positive outcomes previous volunteers have experienced. (Resume builder, prestigious and etc.) Odyssey of The Mind cannot ensure previous volunteer’s commitment for future events. Demand volunteers to verbally commit regarding future events. Odyssey of The Mind lacks a coherent website for potential volunteers to access and obtain knowledge. Update website. Global Ambition (Written by: Tyler Mulvey) Within the next year, Odyssey of the mind plans for volunteerism to increase by 25 percent while maintaining 50 percent of its current volunteers. Plan Outline (Written by: Andrea Jensen, Brian Kearney, Tyler Mulvey, James Roh, Lisa Santeramo, Jaclyn Tellefsen) Issue: Brand awareness and recognition among potential volunteers is low/absent. Objective 1: Increase awareness of the Odyssey of the Mind brand in select areas by 25 percent by month six. Strategy 1.1: Position OOTM as a rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you can get involved in without competing (volunteering). Tactic 1.1.1: pitch local media outlets during times of OOTM team practices in an effort to earn coverage and entice local residents to get involved Tactic 1.1.2: Post on local patch sites and related online resources to highlight the OOTM teams in the area and how prospective volunteers can get involved
Odyssey of the Mind PR Plan Spring 2014 23 Tactic 1.1.3: Establish social media networks to engage and persuade local residents to get involved with volunteering for OOTM (can also be used as a recruitment tool for participants) Tactic 1.1.4: Create folders specifically for volunteers containing relevant information and resources for those interested Tactic 1.1.5: Update website when necessary and ensure it contains all relevant information, resources and contact information for prospective volunteers Tactic 1.1.6: Ensure all participants in selected areas have basic knowledge of the volunteer process so they can act as ambassadors and spread awareness via word of mouth, social networks, etc. Issue: Potential volunteers are unaware of benefits that come with volunteering. Objective 2: Increase volunteer knowledge of benefits by 90 percent by month 12. Strategy 2.1: Emphasize that volunteering for OOTM is a chance to make a difference and witness young, brilliant minds at work. Tactic 2.1.1: Designate a section of the website dedicated to volunteer information ONLY. Include the benefits of volunteering and other relevant information that will intrigue possible volunteers Tactic 2.1.2: Create a monthly newsletter with one section dedicated to highlighting benefits of being a volunteer, and distribute to: Alumni Past volunteers Current volunteers Current competitors Past competitors Issue: Retention rate of volunteers is low. Objective 3: Retain previous year volunteers by 50 percent by month 12. Strategy 3.1: Maintain positive relationship with volunteers from most current events to show they made a positive impact and are valued. Tactic 3.1.1: Send personal thank-you emails/cards Tactic 3.1.2: Newsletter (see above) Tactic 3.1.3: Send personalized emails as events in their area approach so they know they can be utilized again
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