RT&E News

Warm the Heart/Horizon Services
RT&E Promotes Neighborly Heater Giveaway

Mark Aitken

Warm the Heart, a local non-profit organization created by Mark Aitken and Dave Geiger of Horizon Services, donated 13 home heating systems to families in New Castle County this winter, and asked RT&E to help.

RT&E was tasked to assist by increasing the number of applications distributed and application submissions, and improving the look, feel and functionality of the organization's website (www.warmtheheart.org). RT&E was specifically sought out for this effort due to our extensive experience in the not-for-profit sphere.

The Warm the Heart organization wanted to maximize media exposure through a full-scale public relations effort. Goals included hosting a successful campaign launch press conference, using the local and regional media attention to educate the public on the application process for a free heater, and to encourage the business community to offer financial support to the program. After the recipients had been selected, a second round of media coverage was sought to chronicle the heater installation process.

RT&E also provided a face-lift of the organization's website and a media portal to supply high-resolution photographs, graphics, fact sheets and press releases to members of the working press.

SUCCESS

The kickoff news conference featured remarks from Wilmington Mayor James Baker, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, and Gary Stockbridge, President of Delmarva Power—a corporate sponsor of the Warm the Heart organization. The event was covered by the News Journal, Delaware Online, Community Publications, 6-ABC, WDEL and WILM.

During the campaign, more in-depth media interview opportunities were secured for the client, which included an appearance on John Watson's WILM Newstalk program as well as a taped appearance on Comcast Newsmakers. The extensive media attention generated applications at three times the rate of the previous two years of the Warm the Heart program.

The campaign ended with a media photo opportunity organized by RT&E during the installation of a heater in the home of a program recipient. The event was featured—along with a color photograph—on the front page of the local section of the Wilmington News Journal, on 6-ABC's evening news telecast, as part of a video vignette feature on Delaware Online, and on WDEL.