The 2013 “Season for Caring” campaign by the Austin American-Statesman raised more than US$549,000 in monetary donations and US$124,000 in in-kind donations, for a grand total of US$644,000, making it one of the most successful campaigns since the programme began in 1999.
During the month of December, the newspaper featured 12 families, all of whom had been nominated by local non-profit agencies. Those families were featured in daily stories and ads, drawing a response from more than 2,500 readers and local businesses that reached out, contributed, and helped improve the lives of all of these families.
Although the campaign is called a “Season for Caring,” its effects can be witnessed all year long. After the needs of the featured families are met, the participating agencies use the funds raised during this campaign to provide emergency services to families throughout Central Texas. In many cases, this will include money for rent, utilities, groceries, medications, and medical co-payments.
Thanks to the generous donations raised by the “Season for Caring” campaign, agencies were able to move a single mother and her two young children from a dangerous motel into their own apartment. A young man who grew up in foster care now also has a safe place to live, complete with new furniture that was donated by readers.
One reader donated a full year’s lease and all utility payments to a single father with three children who is battling cancer.
The Season for Caring programme drives reader engagement with and raises funds for 12 non-profit agencies in Central Texas during the holiday season. Each of those agencies nominates a family that they feel best represents the agency's mission.
The campaign is also a true partnership between editorial and marketing. Our editorial staff writes the stories of the families, while our marketing department develops complementing promotional ads to further encourage donations. The funds raised allow the agencies to not only help their featured family, but also give additional help to other clients in areas including health and medical challenges, living arrangements, transportation, jobs, food, and much more.