• work

united way

what we did

LOOKING DEEPER TO CHANGE LOW GRADUATION RATES.

industry
nonprofit

collateral
print
online
social media
television
radio

modes activated
learning
inspiring
connecting

United-Way_Header_Image_2

the challenge

United Way wanted to hit a 90% on-time graduation rate for high school students by 2020.

Yet Alaska, with its higher concentration of at-risk youth and high unemployment and violence rates, was particularly challenged. What’s more, many in the community often labeled these students as not trying hard enough, and took little responsibility in a solution. Enter Spawn Ideas.

we were curious

We knew that there were two sides to every story and started with the students themselves.

Through extensive discussions, we learned that most of their challenges happened before the school day or year even began. Unstable housing. Focusing more on where their next meal would come from, rather than a bio exam. Taking care of a younger sibling. Worrying less about sleeping in class, but more where they’d sleep for the night.

genuine human understanding

In our experience, if you want to change behavior, you need to give people both motivation and ease – something or someone to root for. You only need to look at shows like The Voice to witness this in action where the most successful contestants have an interesting backstory to tell. So, to get the community on board to reach our goal, we needed to bring these students’ deep, personal stories to light.

the wild idea

The normal way of doing things with public service is to paint the person as a victim and ask for donations. Instead, we decided to get viewers to empathize with the situation. To see the whole story with these students who held so much potential. To look beyond the labels.

the result

The multiyear initiative that included this campaign

helped increase Anchorage’s graduation rate by more than 22%.