Good News from Brightwater

June 15, 2020 Eve Heidemann

Brightwater Buddies 

During the COVID-19 pandemic Brightwater developed the Brightwater Buddies program to support residents in our aged and disability homes expand their opportunity for social interaction, in a time when regularly being with family and friends and out and about in the community wasn’t possible.

Thanks to the program we were able to connect over 800 people from across WA with people in our homes and bring back the value of human connection. This took the form of either a phone call, email, letter writing or picture. The response was overwhelming and immediate. Letters, calls and gifts came flooding in, many children drew beautiful pictures with some even sending in flowers and chocolates, pieces of origami, warming socks, something for everyone.

Wanting to make our Brightwater Buddies program even bigger and take the program into the broader WA community, we launched an appeal, which will help fund social activities, celebrate milestones or simply bring people together for a cuppa and a chat, the ultimate much needed face to face vital connection once the crisis is over.
  

Challenges

The first challenge was to develop a process that effectively registered and screened volunteers quickly and efficiently. We wanted the support offered by volunteers to reach our clients who were dealing with the stress of lockdown, as rapidly as possible. 

Lots of volunteers wanted to show their support by creating pieces of art for clients, or provide handmade gifts and letters. Again we had to ensure effective screening of these items to ensure the content was suitable and that the virus was not remnant on any items sent.

We were also aware that it would be difficult to form a connection remotely and it be sustainable, we overcame this by sending a steady stream of thank you notes, photos and emails back to the volunteer from their matched buddy in the hope that this connection would stick going forward.

We had limited funds for this campaign and therefore we needed to create momentum. We did this by calling for the support of a community who were actively looking to support others whilst they too were experiencing lockdown.

Impact

The campaign for assistance went viral after a series of Facebook posts and as such we now have close to 800 registered to this program and growing daily. The impact of this is enormous; we have tripled our volunteer base and acquired a raft of potential new donors.
 
 This was achieved via:
  • Series of Facebook posts which encouraged people to register their interest 
  • Promoted on our website 
  • Featured in local press 
  • We received contact details of 800 people and buddied these people up with our clients
  • All buddy correspondence was processed quickly through head office  
  • Regular emails sent to buddies to thank them and keep them engaged
 
How we measured the campaign:
  • Raised Brightwaters profile and engaged staff
  • Page went live on Thursday, 26 March 2020
  • From 26 March 2020 to 11 June 2020, there has been 6,574 page views
  • We have received 800 applications on our website
  • Total reach across these Facebook posts was: 41,198
  • The average engagement rate for these posts was 9% 
  • Most of the posts were organic. Only one post was boosted for $200
  • 69% of page views for Brightwater Buddies were from Facebook (4,534 of the 6,574 page views)
We aim to grow the program by featuring the current appeal on facebook/linkedin/newsletters/ - this campaign is yet to be measured.
 
Ultimately and most importantly our clients felt the love and care of a community, and the program, thanks to the appeal, now has the opportunity to expand from traditional letter writing and phone calls to in person social gatherings – ensuring the already established human connections continue to grow.
 
This campaign didn’t have a direct ask for donations but it ended up being a great acquisition campaign to gain new supporters, it raised our profile and gave a great sense of connection to the WA community. From this we felt that the volunteers got a bigger sense of giving than if they had donated money, and that they were a central and very vital part of the campaign. 
 
This was a new campaign/program for Brightwater so we didn’t know how it was going to be received given that it focused on loneliness and social isolation and how we all now have a taste of what that feels like –putting others in the shoes of the aged and lonely who felt loneliness on a daily basis. 

Read more about the Brightwater Buddies campaign here.
 



Find out more about Brightwater:

Website: https://brightwatergroup.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brightwcg/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrightwaterCare
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/brightwater-care-group-inc./
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BrightwaterCare

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