WEDU Celebrates Ten Years of Be More Awards!
What started out as an engagement vehicle to showcase community achievements that aligned with the values of the WEDU/PBS Be more brand positioning, has evolved into a signature community event and revenue generator for WEDU, with a good portion of the revenue driven by the community’s support of children and young people.
WEDU founded the Be More Awards in Tampa ten years ago, and each year the station engages the community to showcase the best work by nonprofit organizations and the individuals who support these organizations.
Cross-Platform Community Engagement
WEDU’s Be More Awards include these key, components, with the Be More Awards themselves taking place in February of each year:
- Content: WEDU offers 15 different formal award categories, all of which align with PBS brand values, and within which area nonprofits and individuals are invited to apply. Ten years on, WEDU has attracted naming rights sponsorships for several categories.
- Online: Community members can nominate others for a Be More Award and/or vote in an online poll that includes all Awards applicants on the WEDU website. WEDU also provides applicants a digital toolkit for every phase of the awards season which includes customizable social media posts, web and social media graphics, press releases and more for nominees, finalists, and winners.
- Event: The Be More Awards are a formal luncheon event, which take place every year in a high-profile community venue. The station sells tickets to the event, and has opportunities for sponsors or major donors to purchase tables. A professional development workshop for nonprofits is also now part of the Be more Awards footprint.
- On-air: WEDU uses its air to promote the Be More Awards and invite community members to participate, either by applying, nominating or voting online. The station also showcases Be More Award winners on-air after the event on one of the station’s local programs.
- Community Advisory Board: WEDU invites leaders within the community to serve on the Be More Awards planning committee along with a separate group of independent judges.
The Connection to Kids
In recent years, the majority of Be More Award winners have been kids- or education-oriented nonprofits, individuals committed to youth or education causes, or even young people themselves. The local community is clearly motivated to further causes that allow its young citizens to reach their potential.
WEDU’s Be More Awards have allowed WEDU to put the station and its own education/PBS KIDS-related services in the center of that community engagement, positioning it as a valuable means for furthering the impact of other like-minded organizations and ensuring the legacy of individual community members committed to education and helping children. This synergy has been key to the station’s ability to ensure sustained (and in some cases increased) corporate and major donor support, so it can continue to further the impact of its own public service mission.
And Speaking of Financial Support
WEDU’s Be More Awards has been a growing revenue source for the station over its ten-year history, with the station bringing in well over $215K in net revenue over ten years from the event itself, and varying amounts of incremental revenue each year from funders that later renewed, increased or signed on to financially support the station as a direct or indirect result of their participation in the event. In 2015, WEDU raised approximately: $28K in ticket and table sales, $40K through in kind donations in support of the event, and $20K in corporate sponsorships. WEDU has been successful in attracting tiered corporate sponsors for the Be More Awards since its inception, and has leveraged the Awards to build and strengthen its relationships with other nonprofits and community organizations. The Awards is also an effective vehicle around which WEDU can engage members and major donors.