Empowering the People of a City to Become Park Angels
Philanthropist Darla Moore saw an opportunity to beautify the City of Charleston, SC by improving its parks. So in 2007, she created the Charleston Parks Conservancy with a $10 million endowment. After hiring an Executive Director and determining an initial improvement project, the Charleston Parks Conservancy quickly needed to raise awareness and become self-sustaining.
- We were hired to raise awareness and generate excitement about the Charleston Parks Conservancy and the Charleston Parks System among potential donors and the community in general.
- Work with the City of Charleston to create a unique private/public partnership to support the parks.
Charleston, SC is a city rich with pride and heritage. But we found that there was no centralized documentation about the historic and 90+ public parks. The stories that did exist – and there were many – were personal and passed on by word of mouth. We also found that, in general, people wouldn’t listen to a basic call for a tree planting or cleanup day. So we reframed the conversation and made it about how the parks fit into people’s lives and interests – whether from a horticulture perspective or simply creating memories with friends and family.
To get those park lovers involved, we set out to form deep relationships, and the Park Angels were born. We created a separate but complimentary identity and online community site for them, and recruited and trained six Lead Park Angels. These Leads would serve 2-year terms during which they would respond to citizen concerns and suggestions, recruit new Park Angels and help coordinate improvement efforts. We also armed them with a combination of existing social media tools to help them connect people to people, people to the past, and people to the parks- both online and off.
How We Will Measure Success
- Park Angel Growth – new, total, neighborhoods
- Projects / Community Engagement (offline) – projects, programs, S.E.P.M.
- Fundraising Growth – donors, amount
- Site Activity – Google metrics: unique visits, average time spent on site
- Ideas Generated by the Community – generated, adopted
- CPC / Park Angel Awareness – online, offline, sentiment, search engine, publications