Here are some examples of successful engagement efforts. Click each of the links below to learn more about an engagement project and defining outcomes.
ITVS created the Vote Democracy campaign to encompass three separate documentaries, Please Vote for Me, Iron Lady of Liberia and Chicago 10, airing over the course of one year. The campaign had clear, measurable goals, a defined audience, and compelling opportunities for engagement. Young voters could “Speak Up” by submitting online feedback to ITVS and NPR, completing a survey about issues of importance, or contributing to a political blog. Participants who wanted to “Take Action” were linked directly to voter registration resources, volunteer matching and a signup form to lead a community screening.
P.O.V. used this fascinating story to engage young people and communities about gender and sports, using a variety of engagement strategies. The producers recommended sponsoring events honoring female athletes, working with local Girl Scout troops to explore gender roles, and engaging Mexican immigrant communities in conversations about bullfighting. Lesson plans, a community screening guide, and additional resources rounded out the engagement package.
This video from Working Films shows how you can create new and exciting opportunities for engagement, even when you’re dealing with a well-established movement or topic.
Producer Joanna Rudnick of Kartemquin Films invited national thought leaders and changemakers to an engagement summit while her film about inherited breast cancer was at final cut stage, generating enthusiasm and ideas. Note that the agenda includes an assessment of what’s already happening, a refinement of target audiences and outcomes, and brainstorming of engagement strategies. The participants included engagement specialist from Working Films, an engagement manager from distributor P.O.V., the producers, project coordinators and executive-level staff from key partners and allies.
WGBH prepared classroom materials for their six-part series on Native Americans that were correlated to standards created by the National Council for the Social Studies Curriculum Standards. Online resources through pbs.org included access to the full programs, lesson plans and a printable Teachers Guide.
Firelight Films and ITVS chose to explore three themes raised by their exploration of hip hop music and culture: Masculinity, Misogyny and Homophobia and Media Literacy & Responsibility. These themes appealed to target audiences of teens, parents and teachers, and helped stimulate productive conversations and actions. Project resources included issue briefs, teacher guides, screening kits for Boys and Girls Clubs and in-depth research reports about the lives of black youth.
Producers Brad Lichtenstein and Lisa Gildehaus of 371 Productions planned and executed a robust engagement campaign around their documentary exploring the real choices faced by America’s elderly population. They have shared their engagement budget here; it includes a rich project website, 3,000 local screenings conducted with stations and a coalition of 15 partners, and in-person summits with both coalition members and engagement advisors.
An evaluation plan may appear very formal. Simply put, it will examine the ways in which your content and engagement changed the way participants think, feel and act.