Description of the Project

Friending the Finish Line is designed to help state-based groups to be more effective in engaging their networks toward covering uninsured children. Just like message consistency, storytelling, and interviewing skills, proficiency with social media like Facebook and Twitter can increase your capacity to make change happen for children in your state.

The Foundation has invested in the Friending the Finish Line project to help you integrate social media into your overall communications plan and strategy as a way to accelerate the progress of your children’s health care advocacy work. As this is a highly interactive and focused project, only Finish Line grantee organizations have been invited to participate in the project.

The Foundation’s expectations of Friending the Finish Line grantee organizations can be summarized in terms of outcomes and outputs. In terms of outcomes, the Foundation expects that grantees will reach the objectives described above under “What are the Foundation’s objectives?” above. To accelerate progress toward those objectives, the Foundation also expects that grantees will deliver on a set of tangible outputs. As you review these expectations throughout the project year, remember to rely upon the counsel and support of your coaching team to help you meet them.

Launch Materials and Webinar
The Foundation expects that you will participate in the July 27, 2011, project launch webinar. The Foundation also expects that you will review this launch packet in advance of that call.

One-on-One Coaching
During August, you will work with your coach to schedule at least one coaching call for each month of the project year (through June, 2012). You will be asked to block up to one hour for these calls, though the calls may at times be shorter, and your coach will work with you to explore the value and practicality of appending your social media coaching calls to your state Finish Line team’s monthly check-in call. As with Finish Line, your Friending the Finish Line team also has access to additional support each month that you can use in whatever way is most helpful to you (reviewing documents, answering questions by email, additional strategy calls, etc.). As you map out your activities for the year, your Spitfire coach will encourage you to schedule additional calls early for periods when your children’s health communications plans suggest higher activity. The Foundation expects that you will schedule and participate in the Friending the Finish Line coaching calls and use additional coaching time strategically.

Learning and Partnership Opportunities
Early in the project year, Spitfire will map out learning community convening opportunities and opportunities to partner with Foundation national grantees like MomsRising and First Focus. The Foundation expects that you will actively engage in at least two national grantee partnership opportunities throughout the project year, regularly attend scheduled conference calls, and participate in the Friending the Finish Line Conference.

Examples of Challenges and Accomplishments
The project is committed to the idea of peer-to-peer learning, and timely and concrete examples of grantees’ social media successes and failures are important peer teaching tools. The Foundation expects that you will share examples of your social media challenges, as well as your accomplishments, and that you will actively participate in the Facebook grantee-only hub, asking questions of your colleagues and offering ideas when they ask for help.

Planning and Progress
Measuring progress is as important in social media as in any other communications strategy. To that end, the Foundation requests that each grantee complete and submit a workplan in August that sets objectives for and maps out your Friending the Finish Line work over the year. The Foundation looks to each participant in using the project wiki to record monthly notes about your progress toward those goals, as well as notes about adjustments to your strategy and workplan. As noted above, one of the Foundation’s obstacles is effective measurement of challenges and progress. To facilitate this, Beth will identify specific metrics that are particularly useful in assessing actual engagement and help you understand how to capture them, and the Foundation expects that you will record this data regularly.