Youth sexuality, reproductive health
The Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation asked Spitfire to work with select grantees in its Youth Sexuality, Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Program to strengthen their ability to use communication to reach and mobilize young people.
Spitfire conducted an audit of each organization and developed a tailored program to address the unique challenges – and leverage the opportunities – of each group.
We worked with these nonprofits at a critical time for the field. While the Supreme Court had upheld the Affordable Care Act, guaranteeing preventive services for women, it left it up to individual states to determine whether or not to give low-income adults access to affordable health insurance. Additionally, the politics around reproductive rights and women’s health were as divisive as ever.
Ford selected four nonprofits to participate in the capacity-building program. Spitfire looked at each organization’s communications capacity, activities, brand strength and effectiveness.
One participant said, “The assessment made it very evident we need to make changes.” Another credited the assessment with, “opening conversations not only internally but with our partner organizations.”
Spitfire identified specific learning objectives for each grantee, recommended different capacity-building options and developed a tailored training program for each organization. Specific activities ranged from spokesperson and media training to digital strategy to branding to messaging and strategic planning.
In addition to training sessions, Spitfire offered follow-up coaching to each group. Support included creating a style guide to improve the look and feel of communication outreach; providing counsel on how to redesign and consolidate websites; tailored message platforms; strategic counsel on planning and implementing an effective advocacy campaign; and using social media to improve brand identity. “(The program) helped us hone in on what messages we wanted to prioritize and promote. Our website now clearly targets our intended audiences and provides them with the resources they need,” noted one participant.
Participants appreciated that we tailored the training and follow-up coaching to their specific needs. One participant noted, “The program offered us a resource to do work that we had on our wish list. Making it a reality was important and got staff excited.”
A final evaluation of participant progress reflected measurable progress among all four grantees in terms of stronger communication capacity. We measured this progress through metrics like the quality and quantity of media coverage quoting the organizations, level of engagement on social media platforms and ease of website navigation. Through this program, Spitfire helped the grantees not only solve short-term capacity gaps, but also put long-term changes in place to set them up for future success.