As a writer and someone who understands the power of stories to inspire and empower others — as well as drive positive change — I have long wanted to use this insight and my abilities to make a difference in the lives of others. YourWords STL, an organization whose mission aligns with Anecdote’s and my own, provided the perfect opportunity to do this.
The Problem: Inconsistent messaging and design, resulting in low engagement
With a vision of a more equitable and connected St. Louis, YourWords STL strives to amplify the voices of disadvantaged and marginalized area youth to increase empathy, build bridges and foster community; it does so by offering tutoring and writing workshops for foster-care youth and those in underrepresented communities. By empowering these young people to share their stories and experiences, the organization hopes to foster healing for these individuals and the community. As a small, hands-on organization, YourWords STL has a significant impact on the lives of the young people it supports, but inconsistent messaging and design — with no clear, unified focus — have resulted in low engagement for the brand, among both participants and donors.
The Solution: Capturing and advancing the organization’s mission through consistent, inspiring social content
Meeting today’s youth where they are, we brainstormed to create a dynamic, two-pronged social media campaign to ensure regular, consistent communications and content that conveys and aligns with YourWords STL’s brand and mission. Using participants’ own writings — from various workshops, based on different prompts — we developed graphics, along with contextual copy, that tell the stories of hardship and perseverance that have defined these young peoples’ lives. A tangible result of YourWords STL’s efforts, these posts were designed to empower St. Louis’ disadvantaged youth while building empathy for them and support for YourWords STL.
To further inspire YourWords STL participants and other disadvantaged youth to share their stories, we also created a series of posts featuring leaders throughout history. These posts demonstrate the power of just one person and their story to change the world. Working with YourWords STL leadership, we developed a list of diverse, inspiring and relevant figures who, despite hardship or trauma, were able to enact positive change through action — often by using their voice or wielding their pen.
The Outcome: Confidence and a clear sense of identity
The YourWords STL team was thrilled with — and grateful for — the quality of the work and its alignment with the organization’s mission. The content sparked notable engagement across all social media channels and gave leadership the confidence to boost several of the posts, which led to additional engagement. “The graphics, the copy and the hashtags are all perfection from my perspective! I am just so impressed,” YourWords STL Co-founder and Program Director Anna Ojascastro Guzon told us.
“When Anna described the scope of the work Anecdote was offering to provide us, it seemed like you had captured everything we’ve envisioned for our marketing outreach. The first posts have been even better than I could have imagined. Thank you so much for capturing our voice so well!”
— Steve Handoyo, Co-founder and Executive Director, YourWords STL
Steve Handoyo, co-founder and executive director of YourWords STL, praised the work for how well it embodied the organization’s vision and goals. “Since our founding seven years ago, our small organization has maintained a consistent public voice advocating for marginalized youth rooted in the belief that telling one’s story can help heal from trauma,” he said. “Ensuring that our followers on social media continue to hear that voice requires significant time and energy. Anecdote was able to study our programs and social media identity to craft campaigns that honor our mission while highlighting the stories written by our youth. We are grateful for how faithfully our work shines through with such care and nuance.”
Given the success of the first campaign, YourWords STL reached out to Anecdote to lead the development of a subsequent campaign focused on raising funds around Give STL Day. We created social media posts that convey the unique power of stories to build community, inspire others, instill confidence and, ultimately, change the world. These posts also shared insight into the work YourWords STL is doing to provide opportunities for marginalized youth to capture and share their stories with others, as well as improve their writing abilities. Beyond raising awareness of YourWords STL, the goal of the campaign was to raise funds for the organization and its work. The campaign not only contributed to additional engagement and brand awareness for YourWords STL, but also helped the organization exceed its fundraising goal by nearly 35 percent.
“We have loved working with you and we are extremely grateful for your work! As always, you show exemplary professionalism, skill, and passion. We are so very fortunate to benefit from your work.”
— Anna Ojascastro Guzon