How to Build a Health Care Movement
By Jewlya Lynn, PhD
What happens when 14 community organizations, two foundations and several communications experts come together to change how the public thinks about access to health care? You build a movement.
Project Health Colorado (PHC) was a groundbreaking three-year Colorado Trust initiative to build public will for access to health. PHC involved 14 community organizations that used multiple innovative strategies, along with a paid media and mobilization campaign, to engage the public around access to health. A few of the innovative strategies used by the grantees included:
- Community forums
- Collecting and telling stories
- Training highly engaged volunteers to spread a message about access to health
- Working with high school students
- Mobilizing faith leaders
- Building the capacity of other nonprofits to talk about access to health.
PHC also included a paid media campaign that targeted key groups throughout the state. In addition to traditional and social media strategies, the campaign deployed street teams at fairs and festivals. The street teams helped spread the message of the importance of access to health for all, engaging the public with an interactive website where they could ask questions, get answers and get involved.
What happened as a result of the forums, storytelling, training and mobilizing? Over 25,000 Coloradans were reached through in-person conversations and more than half a million people were reached through electronic and digital communications. People reached by grantees went on to talk to others, creating a ripple effect, carrying the message of PHC that people should be able to get the health care they need, when they need it. Volunteers from all walks of life became ambassadors for the message, particularly community members with no professional reason to be involved.
Want to learn more? The final evaluation report for PHC explores the impact of the many intersecting strategies, walking through key findings and their implications through a mix of infographics and narratives. We’ve also created a separate evaluation report intended for foundations that are undertaking complex grant strategies like PHC.
Let’s learn together about what happens when organizations come together around an innovative idea, and work to make a meaningful difference building public will for access to health.