Best Microsite or Custom Website

Microsite helps Colorado grantees get the word out

The Colorado Health Foundation’s new site is packed with videos and powerful storytelling to help grantees get the word out about its programs. PR Daily’s 2012 Digital PR and Social Media Awards were presented by Synaptic Digital. Learn more about Synaptic Digital here (pdf).

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Facts and numbers are useful for conveying information, but to move people’s emotions, nothing beats the power of a well-told story. 

That’s the idea behind Colorado KaleidosCOpe: Stories of a State’s Health. It’s a microsite from the Colorado Health Foundation, and it’s also the first-place winner in the Best Microsite or Custom Website category in PR Daily’s Digital PR & Social Media Awards.

The Colorado Health Foundation is a nonprofit grantmaking organization that invests nearly $100 million annually to improve health and health care throughout the state. 

To help grantees get the word out about its programs, it launched a site in 2011 packed with video and narrative storytelling. It received more than 5,000 visits and approximately 1,900 video views as of June 2012.

The premise is simple: real people telling their true-life tales of medical issues and challenges. 

Visitors to the site meet Maryann, an MBA graduate without a job whose young daughter struggled to gain weight after birth. It’s a two-and-a-half-minute video that serves as an introductory example of what the site is all about: stories of how ordinary Coloradans have benefited from the programs the Foundation helps to fund. A gallery of 20 more video submissions offers more evidence of the Foundation’s good work.

But the site is about helping grantees tell their own stories, not just presenting feel-good videos. 

Interested visitors can view a 57-minute how-to webinar, look through a list of FAQs on the process, download a “Storytelling 101 Toolkit,” and run through a checklist for submissions. 

There’s also a link to contact a team of professional videographers for a 15-minute phone consultation on technical issues and questions. And at the end, of course, viewers can access a page where they’re able to submit videos and narratives for consideration. 

Colorado KaleidosCOpe met its 2011 production goal of 10 projects, publishing 11 grantee videos and two narratives, and at the time of its entry was on track for meeting its 2012 goals. It adds up to 27 total submissions (23 videos, four narratives) as of June 2012.

Drumming up awareness

To build excitement and awareness about the initiative while the site was in development, the Foundation issued a challenge to its grantee organizations, asking them to submit suggestions for the site’s name, with the winning idea receiving a $5,000 grant. 

Once the official name Colorado KaleidosCOpe was chosen, the campaign was promoted through the organizational blog, and the site was launched on June 1, 2011.

Grantees are invited to contribute raw video and written narrative submissions, and are eligible to receive general operating funding ($5,000 for videos and $1,000 for narratives) for published submissions. Stories chosen for publication are professionally edited and featured on the microsite.

Participants of Colorado KaleidosCOpe tout its impact. 

“Colorado KaleidosCOpe has given us public relations resources that a small nonprofit like ours couldn’t otherwise afford,” says Mara Rose, executive director of the Wellness Initiative. 

“By working with the Foundation on the [Colorado] KaleidosCOpe project, we’ve gotten publicity on TV and in newspapers, which has helped us spread our message and get more elementary schools interested in our services.”

Everyone loves a good story. Colorado KaleidosCOpe’s success demonstrates the power that a structured approach to storytelling can have.

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