ToolBank USA

Essential Tools for Disaster Relief

Media relations coverage to aid in timely hurricane response

Overview

The story was tailor-made for local and national news outlets: Atlanta-based ToolBank USA had the essential tools needed to help rebuild after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria flooded parts of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. With eight chapters nationwide – one in Houston – and a mobile relief unit stationed in Texas, ToolBank USA was perfectly positioned to help these communities rebuild. Our two main objectives were to increase donations to ToolBank USA, and increase awareness so that volunteer groups know they could use ToolBank resources vs. buying tools they only would use once.

Our Approach

The challenge was preparing for the news cycle quickly to take advantage of media interest in hurricane relief stories. We rapidly prepared key messages, press releases and photography for local and national media relations. We drafted messaging and helped prepare spokespeople over the weekend as flooding was happening. JS equipped the ToolBank USA team on the ground with examples, photos and facts for the media. We also helped create materials for a visit from a U.S. congressman who visited a ToolBank project in Texas. The result was incredible exposure for an impactful nonprofit that was in the right place at the right time.

Jackson Spalding - Media Relations, ToolBank USA

Breaking News

We knew from the beginning this story was strong — the key was getting the word out quickly so that we didn’t miss the news cycle. We prepared local media lists for two markets (Atlanta and Houston) plus a national media list. We also prepared pitches tailored to different media. As we got to know our client better, the story kept improving. A volunteer for the organization sent us links to high-quality imagery that we could use for pitching that brought the story to life, including videos. The media were very interested and we fielded phone and in-person interviews from national and local outlets. The story amplified as we found out the client was not only helping on relief for the storms that hit Houston and Florida, but also the U.S. Virgin Islands. And ToolBank USA had a mobile unit deployed in Aransas, Texas, that was helping Houston hurricane relief efforts.

Jackson Spalding - Media Relations, ToolBank USA, Hurrican relief

Continued Coverage

After media interest in the initial story waned as the news cycle wound down, we turned to positioning ToolBank USA in the Atlanta market, where it’s headquartered. This umbrella organization for eight tool banks nationwide had not done much media outreach locally, so we found opportunities for stories that would raise the organization’s profile locally, especially in the business press and with the influencers who listen to local NPR radio. We connected the Atlanta Business Chronicle with ToolBank’s CEO Alan Harrison for a C-suite interview for the newspaper and for a sit-down interview with the publisher on BizTV, which airs on WXIA-TV. Alan and his Atlanta Community Tool Bank colleague Patty Russart also were interviewed on WABE-FM radio’s “A Closer Look” with Rose Scott.

Jackson Spalding - Media Relations, ToolBank USA, Hurrican relief, Video
I wanted to say again how much I appreciate all the support from Jackson Spalding. I think we’ve gotten some good press thanks to your efforts. Thanks again for all your help, it has been great working with you! Alan HarrisonToolBank USACEO

The Results

By hitting the news cycle just right and doing persistent follow-up pitching, we captured more than 167 million impressions with 25 articles in a matter of weeks.

25

print, online,
and TV articles

167 m+

impressions

$1.3 m

in tools leant out for relief efforts for free

Team

The JS team was eager to support friends, family and clients affected by the hurricanes in tangible way.