As part of its Reclaiming Futures national program the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invested not only in programming but in capacity building and support for communications.
As a first step in developing a strategic communications plan, Reclaiming Futures sought to understand public perceptions about juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment. Northwest Communications Research Group studied national media coverage and conducted focus groups on the topic. It then recommended new messaging language and created a message map for Reclaiming Futures communications staff to use in publications and media relations.
Communications experts identified internal and external audiences and set three objectives:
To accomplish the third objective, communications created a strong brand for the initiative.
Through training and orientation, both the national program and local project staff were empowered to be effective communicators. In a 2009 survey, 8 out of 10 project directors said communications played an important role in their project.