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Strategic marketing communications plan for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas

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Title Page
Strategic Marketing Communications Plan for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas
By
Rebecca L. Lynch
Submitted to the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications and
the Graduate Faculty of the University of Kansas in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of Master of Science
James Gentry, Ph.D.
Chairperson
Committee Members:
Kelly Crane
Coordinator, Marketing Communications Program
Journalism
Tom Volek
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Faculty Development
Journalism
Date Defended: April 13, 2010
UMI Number: 1479318
All rights reserved
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a note will indicate the deletion.
UMI 1479318
Copyright 2010 by ProQuest LLC.
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Acceptance Page
The Thesis Committee for Rebecca L. Lynch certifies that this is the approved version of the
following thesis:
Strategic Marketing Communications Plan for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas
Committee:
James Gentry, Ph.D.
Chairperson
Committee Members:
Kelly Crane
Coordinator, Marketing Communications Program
Journalism
Tom Volek
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Faculty Development
Journalism
Date approved: April 23, 2010
1
A Strategic Marketing
Communications Plan for
Court Appointed Special
Advocates (CASA) of
Johnson and Wyandotte Counties
Prepared and presented by Stacy Abernethy, Liz Hawks, Rebecca Lynch
and Jennifer Wyand under the guidance of Dr. James Gentry
School of Journalism and Mass Communications;
Marketing Communications Capstone (Journalism 850)
The University of Kansas – Edwards Campus
Overland Park, Kansas
2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Team Credentials
2
Situation Analysis
4
SWOT
15
Research
17
Recommendations
37
Appendices
A. Sample Radio Script
B. Sample Radio Schedule
C. Primary Research – Surveys
D. Primary Research – Interviews
E. Survey to Supporters
F. Survey to General Public
50
51
53
59
70
75
3
TEAM CREDENTIALS
STACY ABERNETHY began her career at Hallmark Cards, the nation’s leading
greeting card company in 2000 as a customer service specialist. Currently, she is a
senior sales representative for national accounts and markets to independent drug,
grocery, and variety stores. She manages a $3 million dollar territory. Stacy earned
the company’s prestigious R.B. Hall award in 2006 for performance excellence.
Stacy is a dedicated community volunteer and has been recognized for the past 10 years with the
Hallmark V.I.P. award for her work with Shepherd’s Center. Stacy has coordinated and
participated in numerous Hallmark Kansas City Corporate Challenge events. She serves on the
corporation board and is the fundraising chairman for the Alpha Chi Omega sorority chapter at
KU. Stacy designed and implemented a campaign for her sorority that resulted in a significant
increase in donations.
Stacy received her bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in advertising in 2000 and
will complete her master’s degree in Marketing Communications in May 2010, both at the
University of Kansas.
Mother of two young boys, LIZ HAWKS is the founding co-chair of FH Moms,
Fleishman-Hillard’s global practice group specializing in marketing to moms. In this
role, Liz counsels clients on the most effective ways to engage moms in meaningful
dialogue, both online and offline, to move conversation to transaction. From
jewelry to taxes, food to pharma, she has consulted clients such as Hallmark Cards,
Midwest Dairy Council, Silpada Designs, Bayer Animal Health, Ethicon EndoSurgery, Teva Neuroscience and H&R Block. Her experience includes product launches, consumer
awareness and education programs, digital and social media strategies, advocacy relations and
cause marketing initiatives.
Liz came to Fleishman-Hillard from the not-for-profit world, where she managed marketing and
volunteer recruitment for Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and also was a member of AmeriCorps
VISTA, the U.S. government's domestic service organization.
Liz holds a bachelor’s degree with departmental distinction in communication arts from Southern
Methodist University, with an emphasis in broadcast media and dual minors in psychology and
Spanish. She will receive her master’s in Marketing Communications from the University of Kansas
in May 2010.
4
A 15-year marketing industry professional, REBECCA LYNCH has experience in all
facets of marketing. Her areas of expertise include branding, communications,
design and copywriting. Rebecca is currently with Creative Marketing in Leawood,
Kansas, an insurance wholesaler, where she and her team provide independent
insurance agents with strategic marketing advice, logo design, identity piece
design and anything else that goes along with running a small business. Prior to
that, Rebecca was the West Coast marketing manager for the wholesaling division at American
Century Investments where she created programs and pieces for the sales representatives in that
region. Rebecca spent seven years in banking services at CommunityAmerica Credit Union where
she was responsible for the naming rights negotiations and relationship with minor league
baseball’s CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas.
Rebecca has her undergraduate degree from Baker University in Business Administration and will
receive her master’s in Marketing Communications from the University of Kansas in May 2010.
She is a member of the American Advertising Federation and actively supports a number of local
and national non-profits.
JENNIFER WYAND is an account supervisor at C3 (Creative Consumer Concepts), a
kids-focused marketing agency in Overland Park, where she leads the SONIC®
Drive-In account. Jennifer has been with C3 since graduation from the University
of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2005. Jennifer earned
the KU Women’s Leadership Recognition Award in 2003, the American Advertising
Federation of Kansas City (AAF-KC) Mentor and Scholarship Award in 2004 and
was selected C3 employee of the year in 2008.
In addition to her career activities, since 2002 Jennifer has served as the marketing director and
member of the board for the Ali Kemp Educational (T.A.K.E.) Foundation. She also has been a
volunteer for KC Royals Charities since 2000, a volunteer, mentor and member of the American
Advertising Federation of Kansas City since 2003 and a member of the Women’s Food Forum
(WFF) since 2009. Jennifer will receive her master’s in Marketing Communications from the
University of Kansas in May 2010.
This project was supervised by James K. Gentry, Ph.D., Clyde M. Reed Teaching
Professor at the University of Kansas. Dr. Gentry is a professor and former dean
at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the
University of Kansas.
Prior to joining KU in 1997, Gentry was dean at the University of Nevada, Reno
for five years and was a member of the faculty at University of Missouri School of
Journalism for 14 years, where he was a department chair for four years.
He received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.
5
SITUATION ANALYSIS
For more than three decades, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) has been focused on
providing representatives for children involved in family disputes. The organization began in 1977
when Seattle Superior Court Judge David Soukup was concerned about trying to make decisions
on behalf of abused and neglected children without having sufficient information. He developed
the idea of appointing members of the community to speak for the best interests of these
children in court. He asked for volunteers, 50 citizens responded and CASA began.
CASA empowers abused or neglected children by providing them with an advocate who
represents their best interests in court, where they otherwise would not have any input in the
court’s decision-making process. A CASA volunteer plays a crucial role by closely reviewing the
daily living situation of his or her assigned child. Over the course of several months, the volunteer
interviews and interacts with most adults in the child’s life, including teachers and family
members, and reports his or her findings to the court. More importantly, the CASA volunteer
becomes a caring and trusted adult presence in the child’s life – a role model with whom the child
can share his or her emotions, and who listens to the child’s triumphs and fears.
Johnson and Wyandotte County family court judges decide if a CASA will be appointed. If the
judge chooses not to provide a CASA, the case will proceed without one. However, a CASA assists
the court by serving as the court’s “eyes and ears”, thus benefiting the legal system as much as it
benefits the child.
Today, more than 68,000 advocates serve in 1,018 state and local program offices nationwide.
CASA programs across the country are known by names such as Guardian ad Litem, Child
Advocates and Voices for Children.
Since the start of CASA advocacy, volunteers have helped more than 2 million U.S. children find
safe, permanent homes in which they can thrive.1
Three CASA chapters serve the Kansas City metro area: the Jackson County chapter, the Johnson
and Wyandotte Counties chapter, and the Platte and Clay Counties chapter. This project focuses
on the Johnson and Wyandotte Counties chapter.
Approximately 4,000 abused or neglected children move through the Kansas City metro area’s
court systems each year because of custody disputes stemming from abuse, divorce, neglect or
other family related issues. Of those 4,000, the Johnson and Wyandotte Counties chapter served
421 in 2009. The Jackson County chapter served approximately 760.2 That leaves nearly 3,000
metro children without a CASA and without the representation they desperately need. The
Johnson and Wyandotte Counties chapter hopes to serve 435 children in 2010.
6
EVIDENCE OF CASA’S EFFECTIVENESS
Only 7 percent of children served by a CASA are likely to return to the court system versus 15
percent of children without a CASA according to the Johnson and Wyandotte Counties fact sheet.
That is more than twice as many.
Cases in which a CASA takes part are more likely to be permanently closed than cases where a
CASA is not involved. Additionally, when a CASA is involved, the families are more likely to receive
more services than when a CASA is not involved, as per the national CASA Web site.
Each year, CASAs across the Kansas City metro dedicate more than 23,000 hours to children in the
community. Every hour is focused on the same goal: to give each child a chance at happiness and
the stability that all kids need in order to thrive.3
CASA STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS
The Johnson and Wyandotte Counties chapter of CASA has been led by Lois Rice as Executive
Director for the past 12 years. In this role, she directs the activities of the CASA Program as
determined by the Board of Directors. She leads the staff of four members:
 Alyssa Perbeck, Resource Development Director. She focuses on special events, grant
writing, general fundraising, marketing and communication efforts.
 Nina Kimbrough-Smith, Volunteer Recruitment and Education Director. She oversees
direction, procedure, and staffing of volunteer education program.
 Eileen Hainline and Julie Miles, Administrative Assistants.

The paid program staff who are responsible for training and overseeing the CASA volunteers are:
Amorita Johnson – Johnson County Program Director
Susan Hancock – Wyandotte County Program Director
Darcy Lanz – CINC Coordinator
Dee Ann Heptas – CINC Coordinator
Emily Winkleman – Master CASA Coordinator
CASA by-laws state that a chapter’s board may have from 14 to 27 members who may serve on
one of five committees:
1. Executive Committee
2. Board Governance Committee
3. Marketing Committee
4. Financial Development Committee
5. Fiscal Management Committee
To fill a board seat, the Board Governance Committee conducts a search that begins with either
recommendations or referrals. Candidates then go through an application and interview process.
7
Current board members are:
 Maggie Bessenbacher, President
 Judy Frye, Past President
 Kamron Miller, Vice President
 Terry Phipps, Treasurer
 Reida Buehler, Secretary
Board members with no specific title include:
 Deena Blake
 David Boehnke
 Kerry Cosgrove
 Stan Frownfelter
 Dolores Furtado
 Kellie Garrett
 Abe Glaser
 Liz Graham
 Janet Morgan
 Mike Peters
 Annetta Potts
 Kay Spaniol
FINANCIAL PICTURE
CASA’s budget for 2010 is $783,600, although $303,750 is attributed to “advocate contributed
services” or in-kind services, leaving $479,850 in real dollars. The real dollars’ budget for 2009
was $459,367; therefore, the budget in real dollars for 2010 is a 4.5 percent increase from 2009.
In addition, 2009 income was $489,505, exceeding revenues of $441,238 by $48,266 and the
budgeted figure of $459,367 by $30,138.
The 2009 performance reflected a rebound from 2008 when CASA reported a net loss of $54,508,
based on income of $528,823 and expenses of $583,236. In-kind services were valued at an
additional $170,742.
Although this result was a culmination of several items, there were a few outliers. Some of the
noteworthy differences for 2008 vs. 2009 were:
 Salaries dropped from $332,499 in 2008 to $268,208 in 2009 – a $64,291 decrease
 “Contract Position – Family Ties” was an expense of $5,810 in 2008 but zero in 2009
 Because salaries decreased, so did the Payroll Tax Expense – by nearly $5,000
 Rent Expense went from $75,994 in 2008 to $33,595 in 2009 – a $42,400 decrease
 “Marketing Expenses” also decreased from 2008 to 2009 by $20,000.
8


Fall Benefit expense decreased by nearly $10,000 from 2008 to 2009
The In-service Training and the Promise of Hope expenses also decreased.
Two main fundraising events – the Fall Benefit and the Promise of Hope luncheon in April – raised
$117,778 in 2009, approximately one-fourth of CASA’s revenues for the year. By contrast, the
events cost almost $28,000, yielding a return on investment of about four hundred percent. We
would obviously recommend placing more emphasis on and increase the marketing efforts for
CASA events, which would increase attendance and therefore increase revenue from those
events.
Grant writing also plays a role in providing support. CASA relies on one major sponsor,
Performance Contracting Group, and a variety of local donations, as well. The marketing budget is
$37,000, which supports three events, Web site management, printing and direct mail costs,
among other allocations.
Competitive issues impact the organization’s fundraising. CASA of Jackson County is a direct local
competitor for donations and volunteers, and so are other child-focused causes in the metro such
as SafeHome, Sunflower House and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Many high-profile supporters and board members of CASA of Jackson County are Johnson County
residents. And, because both CASA organizations rely on the same media to spread their
messages, the differences may become diluted thus negatively affecting fund-raising. CASA relies
primarily on e-mail, newsletter and word of mouth to communicate its financial needs and
messages.
Additionally, recent international needs may have diverted attention and funds from CASA as
well. In 2010, donations to support international earthquake recovery and to rebuild Haiti may
have decreased the normal flow of local charitable giving. For example, 9 percent of current CASA
supporters say they will donate less this year than they did last year. The general economic
condition may also be causing some of the downturn.
An analysis of expenses, revenues and budgets reveals no large surprises; and, in general, the
organization is keeping steady. However, deeper analysis reveals that the organization should
address two issues: 1) increase larger or corporate donation frequency and amounts and 2)
rebuild the reserve funds that were used in late 2007 and 2008.
The University of Kansas team has made recommendations to address item number one. For
purposes of emphasis it warrants repeating that CASA needs to employ a full-time fundraiser. At
this point, the funding is not available to do this.
According to a white paper by Non-profit Reserves Workgroup, “Operating reserves are the
portion of ‘unrestricted net assets’ that non-profit boards maintain or designate for use in
9
emergencies to sustain financial operations in the unanticipated event of significant unbudgeted
increases in operating expenses and/or losses in operating revenues.”4
Research shows that most non-profits should have 25% of their annual expenses of reserves while
others recommend six months.5 For CASA, and based upon these recommendations, that would
be anywhere from $119,000 (25% of $479,000) to $239,000 (6 months of 2010 expenses).
10
11
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Economy
The struggling economy has had a large impact on non-profit organizations across the country6.
As more companies cut budgets and pro bono contributions, individuals are also losing jobs and
receiving lower salaries. Now, a growing number of corporations are cutting their charitable
matching gifts and volunteer programs. In 2008, giving in the U.S. decreased 2 percent from the
previous year7. It was the first decline since 1987. As a result, more non-profits need funding and
support, while the demand has increased and supply has decreased.
Just how many non-profits are asking metro donors for more support? According to a study
conducted by Indiana University and funded by The Kauffman Foundation, there were 8,010
Kansas City public charity nonprofits [501(C)(3)s] registered with the IRS at the end of 2008.
About three-quarters (72.4 percent) of Kansas City-area households made charitable donations to
these non-profits in 2007, at an average donation amount of $3,375 per donor household. Kansas
City exceeds the national average of $2,247 (as estimated for 2007) by 50 percent.
Corporate Giving
According to the same Kauffman Foundation-funded study, corporate giving decreased 4.5
percent (8 percent when adjusted for inflation) in 2008 to $14.5 billion. Corporate giving
accounted for 5 percent of all charitable giving in 2008. Charities in the Kansas City region
received an estimated $150.3 million in contributions from corporations and grants from
corporate foundations. This is 7 percent of total estimated giving. An estimated 45 percent of
charities in Kansas City received at least one corporate gift or corporate foundation grant in 2007.
Large non-profit organizations received a much higher average amount in corporate gifts and
grants ($981,873) than did small organizations ($1,356) and medium-size organizations ($40,199).
(Non-profit organizations with revenue of $1 million or more were designated as large
organizations, organizations with revenue from $25,000 to $999,999 were designated as medium
organizations, and organizations with revenue less than $25,000 were designated as small
organizations.) CASA is a medium-sized organization with $783,600 in total revenue. According
to the Kaufman Foundation’s “Giving in Kansas City” study, larger non-profits receive larger
corporate donations; therefore, merging with the Jackson County CASA to create a large-scale
metro CASA should be taken into consideration. The study was conducted in 2007 with 2006
numbers and released in 2009.
12
A big area of opportunity for CASA is to develop a relationship with at least one of the metro’s
largest corporate foundations. Sprint Foundation donated $8.1 million to charity in 2006, which
was 44.3 percent of the total amount of grants given by the top-10 Kansas City corporate
foundations. This amount does not include other donations made by the company from corporate
revenue, only donations from the foundation. The second largest corporate grant maker, the
Hallmark Corporate Foundation, awarded $2.8 million in 2006, one-third of what the Sprint
Foundation gave in 2006. Total grants awarded by the top-10 Kansas City corporate foundations
were 95.2 percent of the total amount granted by all Kansas City corporate foundations in 2006.
Ranking of the Top-10 Corporate Foundations by Amount Awarded 2006:
1. Sprint Foundation $8,109,143
2. Hallmark Corporate Foundation $2,773,406
3. H & R Block Foundation $2,656,225
4. American Century Companies Foundation $1,758,428
5. The Commerce Bancshares Foundation $1,348,365
6. Butler Manufacturing Company Foundation $411,245
7. First Hand Foundation $357,597
8. Burns and McDonnell Foundation $310,085
9. Ash Grove Charitable Foundation $286,202
10. Tension Envelope Foundation $278,430
8
Source: The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Giving in Kansas City. Data: FoundationSearch.com,
Foundation Center, and Guidestar.org; 2008
To better illustrate the KC metro area non-profit picture, we’ve included the following graphs.
These graphs illustrate the distribution of missions and resources for various types of non-profits
in the Greater Kansas City metro region. Revenues and number of organizations for each mission
area vary significantly. For example, human service organizations comprise a quarter of all Kansas
City charitable organizations that file with the IRS, yet they receive only ten percent of the
revenues. Health organizations comprise only 10 percent of the agencies, yet they account for
more than half of all revenues received by the non-profit sector (an increase over the previous
year). Conversely non-profits in the arts and culture category comprise 8 percent of all agencies
yet secured only about 3 percent of resources (no changes from 2008).
13
9
Source: “The 2009 Kansas City Nonprofit Sector at a Glance Report”; the Midwest Center for Non-profit Leadership,
2009
DIGITAL EVOLUTION
CASA has not yet embraced digital media as a means to achieve its objectives. However, research
shows the digital landscape is ripe for CASA’s messages, and is also the place where CASA
supporters and potential supporters are congregating. While static Web sites are still critical,
today’s digital landscape is a space for conversation – in other words, a new place for word of
mouth.
There are several advantages for non-profits to use social media. First, the cost of entry is low.
Additionally, social networks offer an opportunity to control what information is shared about
CASA and how (versus relying on a traditional media pitch with no guarantee of placement or
message implementation). Perhaps most important, it allows CASA to solicit feedback, leading to
deeper relationships with supporters. In fact, 75 percent of U.S. non-profits used social media,
especially online video, as a key component of outreach and fundraising, according to a 2007
report called “Blogging for the Hearts of Donors.”
Where are the best spaces for CASA to start implementing a social media strategy? According to
Non-Profit Times10, Facebook is the most popular commercial social network (74 percent),
followed by YouTube (47 percent), Twitter (43 percent)11, LinkedIn (33 percent) and MySpace (24
percent). That said, CASA must consider which social media platform best suits its needs and will
help meet its objectives rather than diving into all.
A PBS report on April 28, 2009, titled “How Charities Harness Social Media to Raise Awareness,
Money,”12 discussed the importance of what the non-profit is doing in social media rather than
where. It pointed out how powerful sharing online video can be in the social media space. Scott
Harrison, president of Charity: Water said in the report that video was by far the best way to tell a
story online. Ramya Raghavan, YouTube’s non-profits and activism manager, said, “People
respond more than they do to the standard PSA model that we’ve seen on TV for years. Video has
14
this amazing power to compel someone to want to take action in a way that just reading text
wouldn’t.”
While there is an expectation by consumers that organizations will embrace social media today,
research supports the fact that the non-profit Web site is still very important. According to a
report by ForeSee Results13, “The Web site is a colossal area of opportunity for non-profits
suffering from decreased giving.” Further, the study cited the following statistics regarding just
how critical the organization’s Web site is in raising awareness and soliciting support. It said a
satisfied non-profit Web site visitor is:
 65 percent more likely to recommend the site to others;
 57 percent more likely to have a favorable overall impression of the organization;
 55 percent more likely to return to the site;
 49 percent more likely to donate; and
 38 percent more likely to volunteer.
Additionally, 40 percent of people surveyed said they visited a non-profit site to stay informed
about the organization and 18 percent visited specifically to make a donation. The site’s
functionality and the organization’s expression of its image online were the two top areas for
improvement according to the surveyed sample.
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL
CASA not only struggles with lack of awareness and understanding of its mission and services but
a perception problem with its core as well. According to the CASA board, 85 percent of people
surveyed nationally say they have a negative perception of foster children. Research found that
“83% of adults know little to nothing about the experiences of youth in foster care. And when
they do think of a youth in care, many adults envision a troublesome youth with no hope for a
positive future.”14
The typical volunteer is also changing. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, shows total numbers of volunteers providing service and volunteers as a percentage of
the population slightly decreased from 2004 to 2008. Additionally, a study by Robert Henline
called “The Changing Nature of the Volunteering Field,”15 recognizes that because today’s
volunteers are so digital, they expect information about new opportunities and what the impact
will be right now. These potential volunteers expect to learn about “what’s in it for them” as soon
as they turn on their computers and in the spaces where they already congregate – social
media16. New approaches to volunteering and fundraising have appeared in social media, such as
Groundcrew, Mechanical Turk, The Point, The Extraordinariness, and Facebook Causes.
15
Boomer volunteers also have specific expectations and need to know how the non-profit they are
considering supporting meets their expectations. These expectations may be 1) how their work
will make a significant impact, 2) how they can continue to use their professional skills, 3) that
they will learn something new, 4) how much time the commitment requires and how much
flexibility is included, and 5) whether there will be an opportunity to connect with new people
and make friends. Considering these expectations, the messaging to the primary target audience
should be weighted 20 percent about what the organization or its constituents will get out of it
and 80 percent about what the volunteer will get out of it.17
16
SWOT
STRENGTHS
 The “Forgotten Children” campaign has received traction.
 Some resources are provided by National CASA.
 The passion of current supporters is palpable.
 Stories of success with children are compelling.
WEAKNESSES
 Despite a low marketing budget, funds are used on direct mail, which has a poor response
rate.
 There is a low level of awareness for CASA with 61 percent of survey respondents not
familiar with it at all.
 The general population’s overall impression of CASA is that it has no impression.
 There is a perception that Johnson County has no socioeconomic needs.
 CASA is unsure if and how to communicate the urgency of its funding needs.
 CASA leadership has not identified a focus or emphasis (i.e., awareness, volunteers or
funding).
 Although there is a full-time development director, her responsibilities are fragmented
and not solely focused on fundraising.
 The public doesn’t understand the term “court appointed,” and is confused.
 Board members say that foster care children are confused with juvenile offenders.
 Board members do not have specific responsibilities, such as focusing on fundraising or
marketing.
17
OPPORTUNITIES
 Use word of mouth in a systematic fashion since that is how supporters learned about
CASA, followed by newspaper and Internet (tied).
 Use social media since marketing budget is low.
 Develop key messages to emphasize what the potential volunteer/donor will get in
exchange for his/her resources.
 Turn enthusiastic volunteers and donors into ambassadors.
 Focus on the most viable target demographics for volunteers, who are female Boomers,
followed by Matures.
 Re-purpose other chapters’ successful fundraising strategies and make them applicable to
the local chapter’s level.
 Find an organization to sponsor CASA in a cause marketing campaign.
THREATS
 CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties competes with CASA of Jackson County.
 CASA also competes with other child-focused causes in metro.
 The current economic situation and competing charitable organizations have put a strain
upon giving in general.
 More than 80 percent of people have a negative perception of foster children, according
to research by the national CASA parent organization.
18
PRIMARY RESEARCH
The primary research stage involved contacting all parties associated with CASA – the board,
volunteers, donors (corporate and private) and the judges. This effort enabled the team to gather
facts and information that would provide insight and perspective regarding the organization and
its place in the community. It also allowed the team to look at the organization from a fresh
perspective.
Several methods were used for primary research. In-depth interviews were conducted in person,
by phone and by e-mail. In addition, the team developed two surveys to gather information from
various parties. One version of the survey was distributed to the general public in January 2010
and a second to donors and volunteers in February 2010. Both were administered via Survey
Monkey.
The information below summarizes the team’s findings.
PRIMARY RESEARCH METHOD #1: ONLINE SURVEY – GENERAL PUBLIC
To develop an understanding of how the general public sees CASA, a survey was sent to 500
people drawn from the general population. Two hundred fifteen people responded to the online
survey for a 43 percent response rate. Of the respondents, 68.4 percent were female and 31.6
percent were male. To explore the possibilities of recruiting from Gen X and Gen Y professionals
as a new growth area for CASA, particularly for volunteer opportunities such as “Friends of CASA”,
metro-area young professionals were included in the sample and made up 67.4 percent of survey
respondents (born 1965-1979).
19
When asked how familiar they were with CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties, 60.9 percent
were not familiar at all, 32.6 percent were somewhat familiar, and only 6.5 percent were very
familiar. Clearly one of the organization’s largest obstacles is awareness.
20
When asked how they first heard about CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties, 54.9 percent
said through this survey, but 22.5 percent had heard it through word of mouth, which is one of
CASA’s largest opportunities.
21
When asked which of the following communication channels was the best way to reach them and
tell them more about CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, 59 percent said through
traditional media, 45.3 percent wanted to go to the Web site for more information and 38.2
percent said social media. In order to capture and retain the population segment coming first to
the CASA Web site for information, CASA should consider ways to make the site more user
friendly and incorporate links to its social media pages from the homepage.
22
When asked their overall impression of CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties, 64.2 percent
didn’t know enough about the organization to have an opinion, but 17.7 percent had a positive
impression. Reasons given included:
“I think it's a very valuable organization.”
“My aunt serves as a CASA and I know how dedicated she is to her work and the kids she helps.”
“They do good for the community and families; volunteers put A LOT of time into their
contribution.”
“From what I've heard, CASA helps to give children a voice.”
“It plays an important role in protecting/supporting children.”
“I have had good experiences with my patients at Children's Mercy Hospital.”
“Its altruistic nature is compelling.”
“They help make difficult situations better.”
“Help to better our community and mentor to those in need.”
“I know someone who does this type of work. It is heartbreaking but, very important.”
“The concept of the program is positive.”
“Helping kids lovingly in tough situations is something wonderful to do.”
“They offer needed services.”
“They offer a valuable service.”
“The mission of CASA of Johnson County is to recruit and train community volunteers to speak out
for abused and neglected children in court proceedings so that they can be permanently placed in
a safe, nurturing environment as quickly as possible.”
“They represent kids with no voice and that's an extremely tough job to do.”
“I have heard that they offer great programs and services.”
23
“Seems to have a great mission.”
“Everyone I know who is associated with CASA speaks very highly of it.”
“Sounds like a wonderful program.”
“The work CASA does is VERY important and I'm quite familiar with the organization and its
wonderful outcomes.”
“I had a friend who was a CASA volunteer.”
“I'm not too familiar with it. My aunt is involved and seems to enjoy it.”
“I am sure they do good work.”
“Seems like a great organization that helps kids.”
“A client that I liked a lot was on the board.”
“I'm familiar with what CASA does in other cities and understand its role. Overall, it has a positive
reputation.”
“A legitimate organization with value to the community.”
“They work with people who need advocates.”
“I have a positive impression of the people whom I know who are involved in it.”
“I have a friend who is a Court Appointed Special Advocate.”
“I have heard good things about these programs.”
“I have a family member that works with CASA.”
“Because they are trained volunteers looking out for the children's best interest.”
24
25
When asked if they had ever volunteered for or donated to CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte
Counties, 97.2 percent of respondents said “no” and 2.8 percent said “yes.” Based on these
findings it could appear a large portion of the general population, particularly within the Gen X
young professional demographic, is ripe for a local awareness campaign.
26
When asked if they would consider donating or volunteering if they were better informed about
the services of CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, 60.1 percent said that they would
consider donating or volunteering and 39.9 percent said they would not. Better educating the
public has a high probability of leading to an increase in volunteers and funding.
27
When asked if they would consider donating to CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties how
much they would likely donate, 51.4 percent said that they would donate less than $99, 8.5
percent would donate $100 to $499 and only 39.6 percent would not donate. While the perdonor annual average may be low, there seems to be a notable volume of potential new donors
from which to draw.
28
PRIMARY RESEARCH METHOD #2: ONLINE SURVEY – CASA SUPPORTERS
An online survey was sent to 223 board members, corporate donors, volunteers and Friends of
CASA members. Of the 98 respondents, 78.1 percent were female and 21.9 percent were male.
Because the prime CASA volunteer profile is a female Boomer, and the volunteer database
comprised the bulk of the supporters’ survey distribution, it is no surprise that 53.1 percent of
survey respondents identified as a Boomer (born 1946-1964), Mature (born before 1946) and Gen
X (born 1965-1979) were balanced equally at 20.4 percent of respondents. Gen Y respondents
comprised only 6.1 percent of this survey’s respondents.
When asked how they first heard about CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, current CASA
supporters most often selected word of mouth (46.9 percent). This was followed by the “other”
category, meaning 25.5 percent of respondents did not first hear about CASA via television, radio,
magazine, newspaper, word of mouth or Internet. Internet and newspaper was the next most
selected answer at 8.2 percent each. Clearly, word of mouth provides the biggest opportunity for
awareness. Equipping supporters with the right key messages and means to spread the word
about CASA is critical.
29
When asked about the primary motivator that drew survey respondents to give of their time,
talents or financial resources to CASA, common responses included: 1) being able to utilize my
skills, 2) being able to work with children, 3) being able to utilize my court experience, 4) being
able to give back to the community in a meaningful way, 5) being able to devote the necessary
time to CASA (retirees) and 6) personal previous experience with CASA or CASA/foster children.
There is an opportunity to change messages to potential supporters to lead with not only local
children’s needs, but also why the CASA opportunity is a good fit with the prospects’ time, talents,
and interests.
Social media is an evolving low-cost opportunity for non-profits to use in marketing. Additionally,
research shows the fastest growing demographic in Facebook is the female Boomer. When asked
which social media channels current CASA supporters’ use, the result mirrored that statistic.
Respondents said they most use Facebook (48 percent), followed by LinkedIn (26.5 percent),
YouTube (22.4 percent) and blogs (13.3 percent). The channels least used by this group are Flickr
(3.1 percent) and Twitter (6.1 percent). While 39.8 percent said they don’t currently use social
media, because more than 60 percent said they do, there clearly is an untapped opportunity to
use it.
CASA should consider developing a Facebook fan page where regular updates could center on
sharing success stories --particularly stories about what supporters are gaining by their CASA
involvement-- and also promoting upcoming events and sharing videos. In fact, 37.7 percent of
respondents said they would be “very likely”, “somewhat likely” or “likely” to connect with CASA
via these social media channels.
30
When asked how their donation amount for 2010 would compare with 2009, 55.6 percent said
they plan to donate the same amount this year as last year, 18.9 percent said they do not plan to
donate financially to CASA in 2010, 16.7 percent said they plan to donate more and 8.9 percent
said they will donate less money this year. In a year in which the economy is still down and
international aid needs are growing because of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, developing
supporters to donate the same or more money this year, and equipping them with messages
around why they plan to do so, would be a great opportunity.
31
What kinds of words or phrases should comprise advocates’ messages? When asked how they
would finish this sentence: “CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties is ________,” supporters
gave varying variety of “elevator speech” responses, but many responded by leading with what’s
in it for the supporter, such as:
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“…one of the best non-profits locally you can become involved with.”
“…most rewarding for the child and you.”
“…really a lot of fun. You get to play with kids and actually have some say in what happens
to them. It’s really important.”
“…more than worth your time and effort.”
“…one of the most demanding and meaningful things you will ever do. CASA is a well-run
organization, and being a member is something you can be proud of.”
“…CASA is a wonderful organization to get involved with. Volunteers advocate for abused
and neglected children with a voice in court. We would like to see every child in a safe and
permanent home.”
“…a wonderful way to help a child in need!”
“…a very worthwhile experience.”
“…a great way to make a real difference in a child's life.”
32
When asked what channels would pose the best opportunities to reach the supporters’ friends,
family members and colleagues, highest rated were word of mouth followed by traditional media.
CASA should consider the tools it is giving supporters to be best equipped to spark word of
mouth. CASA should consider prioritizing marketing efforts in the same way, perhaps even doing
away with direct mail. Opportunities were prioritized as follows:
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Word of mouth (82.7 percent)
Traditional media (television, newspaper, magazine, radio) (62.2 percent)
Advertisement or PSA (54.1 percent)
CASA Web site (42.9 percent)
E-mail (40.8 percent)
Events (39.8 percent)
Informational speeches (35.7 percent)
Social media (34.7 percent)
Through United Way or similar organizations (22.4 percent)
Direct mail (15.3 percent)
33
PRIMARY RESEARCH METHOD #3: ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEWS
In order to gather richer and more detailed information, the team conducted one-on-one
interviews with people affiliated with CASA chapters in other states and judges who work with
CASA. An e-mail was sent to interviewees explaining the interview process and interviews were
conducted over the phone.
Each interview lasted approximately one hour. Eight interviews were conducted between
February 1 and March 15, 2010.
Although these organizations’ budgets are significantly larger than that of CASA, they offer best
practices that CASA can learn from.
Denise Conway, a member of the Austin, Texas, CASA board as well as the national CASA board,
and Dena Miller, marketing manager for Child Advocates of Texas in Houston were interviewed.18
When asked about her role with your organization, Denise replied that she has served on the
Austin, Texas CASA Board for 18 years and the national board for four years. Her five siblings and
she were raised by their mother alone because their father was abusive. When she was
introduced to CASA, she realized that her mother was a gift. Denise believes life would have been
totally different for her if it weren’t for the strength of her mother. Her involvement with CASA is
a way for her to pay forward the wonderful things CASA did for her life. Denise pointed out that
kids don’t have strength but by providing a CASA they have strength and a voice. She could not do
what volunteers do from a volunteer standpoint to a personal point. Denise thinks she better
serves by raising money to make sure they have funding.
Dena Miller, Marketing Manager for Child Advocates19 said she recruits, trains and supports
volunteers from the Houston community who speak up for the best interest of abused and
neglected children in foster care. She found out about the job through a job posting online and
applied based on the level of marketing experience involved.
Both Denise and Dena shared their respective chapters’ best practices related to fundraising and
volunteer recruitment. While both chapters’ efforts return a high amount of funds annually, both
chapters seem to have much higher bottom lines to begin with. Annually in February, the CASA
chapter of Austin has a black tie gala entitled CASA Blanca. Denise was involved in starting the
event, which sells out. She said when the event started (15 years ago) the organizers knew to
keep the following in mind: 1) have food men will eat, 2) have entertainment and action and 3)
share a compelling success story just before the fundraising starts. In the middle of the auction,
they have a CASA child tell his story and then do “Paddles Up” (starting at $2,000, while pointing
out that amount equates to electricity, into general funds all the way down to $100). They point
out that this money could buy a child a new prom dress or a class ring. CASA Blanca raises
$75,000 annually.
34
Other best practices shared by Dena from the Houston chapter include orientation sessions,
monthly e-newsletters to all volunteers, staff and board members, personal contact and board
committees.
When asked about staff and board structure and responsibilities, Denise shared that the Austin
chapter has a full-time development director with an assistant. For example, the coordinator
does the media buying and obtains an in-house discount. The board is responsible for auction
items, foundations and ongoing fundraising.
Dena shared that the Houston organization has a full-time employee searching for volunteers and
sponsorships. It has one marketing staff member, two staff members responsible for
recruitment, training and retention and five development staff members. This is in addition to
program staff members that manage and supervise the volunteers. It has a college student intern
each summer. Its CEO has six direct reports, who are in program, development, operations,
recruitment/training/retention, special projects and marketing roles. The program team is broken
down further into four team leaders who report to the program director, each managing four to
six advocacy coordinators.
When asked how she describes CASA, Denise said that for the CASA volunteer, her whole goal is
to take care of the child. It’s about the children and their needs. The goal is always about
reunification. Sometimes that’s not best for the child because moms or dads do not want to put
the effort in or they are “too drugged out”. Denise focuses on the child and what’s best for that
child.
Dena pointed out that CASA is an extra pair of eyes and ears for the family court judge who
ultimately has to make a permanent placement decision for a child.
The Houston and Austin chapters both use advocates in publicity roles. Both chapters focus on
word of mouth and in fact, both put more emphasis on word of mouth than any other medium. In
2009, Child Advocates, Inc. assigned 699 volunteers to the cases of children through its program.
The volunteers have been given the information necessary and the opportunity to spread the
word about the work they do and the needs of the program in their personal and professional
lives. Overall, word of mouth delivered through current CASA staff and volunteers is the most
used vehicle for communicating the organization.
When asked about local social media efforts, Denise shared that nationally, CASA is getting ready
to emphasize social media. A main topic at the national board meeting recently was social media.
A vice president of marketing for Dell is on the board and is working to get digital agency
RazorFish to donate its digital services, including social media efforts. She admitted at the local
level, social media is important, but it can be a challenge to find someone who has time to
manage social media initiatives.
35
Denise pointed out that the Houston chapter re-branded from CASA to Child Advocates, Inc. She
said sometimes an organization needs to change names because it takes a different twist. It is a
part of CASA, just with “a different twist.” However, the Houston chapter never did actually use
CASA in its name – it has been Child Advocates, Inc. since its inception in 1984. Denise believes
the different names of all the different programs can be very confusing for potential funders and
volunteers. The Houston chapter does its best to explain that the name of its organization is Child
Advocates, Inc. and that it is Harris County’s court appointed special advocate (CASA) program.
There are more than 1,000 programs like the Houston chapter across the country; however, each
program recruits volunteers and solicits funding independently.
Interviews were also conducted with judges who frequently see how CASA impacts the lives of
young people. Judges interviewed included:
Allen Slater; Johnson County District Court Judge20
Thomas Kelly Ryan; Johnson County District Court Judge21
Kathleen Sloan; Johnson County District Court Judge22
Thomas E. Foster; Chief Judge; Johnson County District Court23
Daniel Cahill; Wyandotte County District Court Judge24
Judges were asked to provide an overview of their daily involvement with CASA or with the CASA
advocate volunteers.
The judges said they have an array of interactions which were all very similar to one another.
CASA volunteers appear frequently in court. They are appointed at any point in a case at the
request of a party, a Court Services Officer or by Susan Hancock, the CASA supervisor of
volunteers. They interact with the children who are the subject of a case and visit with
placements, parents, and case workers to assess the services provided to children as well as the
children’s well-being. CASAs bring a unique perspective to a case in that they do not view a
situation through concepts of social work, psychology, or sociology but through a common sense,
lay person view of a child’s situation. This allows a very personal concern for a particular child
which by its nature differs from, and adds to, the professionals’ assessments. Judges have
interactions with CASAs or CASA volunteers approximately two to three times per week. The
interactions are very important to the judges.
The judges pointed out that CASA’s involvement often prevents these cases from becoming more
serious Child In Need of Care (CINC) cases, gives children a voice in court, and leads to a calmer,
safer, more nurturing living environment for children. It is also very important to the children.
CASAs serve as very good advocates in making sure everything the court orders gets
accomplished.
In conclusion, judges agreed it is nice to have a CASA in the case. Judges rely on the CASA
because they can’t rely on what the parents tell them. The CASA is an excellent third party with
an unbiased opinion that brings perspective to the situation.
36
When asked about their impression of CASA as an organization, the judges unanimously said they
are supporters of the CASA system. Judges also wish that in the domestic law setting (as opposed
to the Child in Need of Care proceedings), there would be CASAs available to assist families in
divorce and paternity actions.
The judges pointed out that CASA has stringent policies and procedures set up through the State
CASA associations and standards set by National CASA. Its requirements are not only carefully
thought out and thorough but well monitored by constant audit and reviews. Kansas Supreme
Court Rule 110 tells a CASA what to do and it relates to district courts. There is a list of six
functions for the CASA, which are not all inclusive but a place to start. Judges also suggested that
if CASA reports come sooner, everyone involved has time to read the report. Judges also wish
there was a way to get volunteers faster. Lastly, judges suggested assigning CASAs to cases versus
allowing them to choose because there are simply so many in need.
When asked about the relationships between CASA volunteers and the children involved, the
judges said CASA volunteers greatly affect the children involved. It is important that the kids know
that there is a rational adult who cares about them. CASAs affect the outcome because the
parents know that sooner or later the court is going to find out what the truth is. The process
helps determine which parents want to be seriously involved with the children or which want to
pay less child support. CASAs help in a broader sense of pushing the cases along and keeping the
kids out of foster care. The CASAs’ opinions are welcomed because they come from a neutral,
trained child advocate.
Statistics show that children who are served by a CASA spend less time in the foster care system,
have more positive outcomes and a better overall opinion of their experiences than those who
are not so served. A child who leaves the system is more likely to be successful in the long term.
CASAs have a unique insight into a child’s situation. In summary, the judges said CASAs affect the
children a great deal without the children even realizing it.
The judges pointed out that CASAs hugely affect the outcome of each case. Parents don’t always
tell the truth. The CASA report is particularly helpful if it confirms what the judge hears from other
sources such as the psychologist or court service officers. The report has a direct affect on the
outcome of the case. It is critical in the overall evidence and assessment of the case by the judge.
While the reports and input are not exclusively relied upon in making custody determinations, the
value of the information is indeed priceless, when other avenues are not realistic or possible.
Another judge pointed out there is a greater need for CASAs in high conflict custody litigation
than in neglect and Child in Need of Care (CINC) cases. The State provides considerable
investigative and social support services in neglect cases. There are no such services available for
high conflict custody cases, which are often borderline neglect cases. CASA’s contributions are
extremely important in the outcome of all cases.
37
If CASA were a person, one judge described, CASA would be a combination of the family matriarch
or patriarch, the wise aunt who takes control in a time of need, the school principal, the family
doctor, and the local police officer. CASA is the involved teacher, involved aunt, local police
officer, etc.
Another judge described CASA as the truth cop that often learns critical information that may not
be evident to others involved in the legal process, which by definition are representing other
persons in the family unit whose positions are not aligned with the children’s best interests. The
CASA volunteer is a superb undercover investigator who can assist the family and the judge in
making decisions that are child-centered and realistic when all other information may point in
another direction or advocate for a position that does not account for the child’s perspective.
When it comes to informing others about CASA, without a doubt, the judges said they think
people respond most positively to the stories of CASA volunteers and children served by them.
They said people also resonate with the phrase that CASAs are “the eyes and ears for the court”.
However, some judges think people only understand CASA and its value when they are involved in
a court matter or when they hear the real-life story of a volunteer’s impact on a child’s life
through the often drawn-out court process in CINC or divorce cases. They have noticed it is at that
point people are impressed when they find out volunteers are just volunteers.
Judges pointed out that they understand CASA’s fundraising is extremely important. They said
they desperately need more volunteer CASAs, which would be a result of having more funds.
Wisely raising funds to increase the number of volunteers was the overall objective suggested by
judges. The judges said they believe talking with a CASA is the best way to attract and retain
qualified volunteers through the CASA’s stories.
When asked, if based on observations over the years, the name of CASA should be changed, the
judges were divided. Some judges suggested the name could be improved and also suggested
adding the word “child” to the tagline. On the other hand, a few judges felt CASA had worked too
hard to publicize the name and that CASA should keep it as is. Another judge felt that CASA
should change the name because the “Special Advocate” doesn’t identify who is being advocated
for, nor does it identify CASA’s special relationship with the children it serves. “Voices for
Children” doesn’t identify the agency’s relationship with the judicial system that separates it from
other child advocacy groups. Some sort of hybrid between the two demonstrating the Courtsanctioned nature of CASA and its advocacy for children was suggested.
38
RECOMMENDATIONS
AUDIENCE
Based on both our research and discussions with CASA staff, we have identified the following
primary and secondary target audiences:
Primary Target Audiences:
VOLUNTEERS:
1. Female empty nesters/retirees living in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties who are ages
55-65. This target audience member has raised a family and is close to retiring, has retired
or never worked. If the target is retired, she likely worked in a field closely related to
children (i.e., teachers, social workers) or the family court system and has a higher
baseline knowledge of the commitment required by CASA. This target audience member
has time to volunteer and is looking for an outlet to contribute her professional
experience working with kids.
2. Males of the same demographics and interests.
DONORS:
1. Johnson County based businesses and corporations with a desire to support Johnson and
Wyandotte County kids.
2. Large metro-area corporate foundations.
Secondary Target Audiences:
Males and females ages 25-54 who may reside anywhere in the metro but have a vested interest
in Johnson and Wyandotte counties because they live, work in or patronize businesses in those
counties . The secondary target is young and energetic with altruistic interests and energy to
volunteer in short-term capacities or for specific projects or events while working full time. While
the primary target individual fits the ideal CASA volunteer type, the secondary target’s objectives
are to volunteer in more non-traditional (short term) ways, to spread the word of CASA and to
raise funds on an individual level (i.e., one-to-one fundraising versus corporate or foundation
fundraising). This target may be employed by a business or corporation with an employee
matching program or pro bono program from which CASA could benefit.
39
Marketing Communications Objectives
With an overarching goal of increasing CASA’s funding and directing efforts at the targets defined
above, our team has developed the following marketing communications objectives:
 Raise awareness
 Recruit new supporters (volunteers and donors)
 Develop and equip ambassadors
 Differentiate from competitors
After careful analysis of the primary and secondary research, situation analysis and SWOT, our
team developed the following strategic recommendations and example tactics to help CASA
implement its new marketing communications plan.
Strategy #1: Reframe the key messages
CASA currently utilizes a needs-based message as the foundation for its communications, which is
evident at the Web site, video and recent news article, where messages focus on the children’s
stories and needs. However, the majority of current supporters surveyed said that if they were
asked to describe CASA, they would start by talking about the opportunity CASA provides to its
supporters. This reframes the essence of the message from leading with needs (i.e., neglect,
abuse, foster care) to leading with opportunity (i.e., making a difference, using skills for good,
caring for local kids).
Tactic: Create Elevator Speech
Primary Recommendation
1) CASA offers caring adults an opportunity to put their skills to use as a dedicated advocate,
speaking for kids caught in family court systems who have no voice in their own situations.
Secondary Recommendation
2) CASA provides abused or neglected children caught in the family court system with neutral
and unbiased representation from a caring and trained volunteer who will accurately
share the child’s best interests to the judge overseeing their case.
Tertiary Recommendation
3) CASA provides the court with a volunteer who represents a child caught in the judicial
system as a result of abuse or neglect and occasionally divorce. The volunteer represents
the best interests of the child while taking into consideration the child’s needs and hopes.
40
Tactic: New Tagline
What is CASA? What does a CASA do? These are questions not easily answered by one succinct
tagline or phrase; however, there is a way to effectively communicate the value CASA provides
children while spotlighting the important role CASA plays and negating the perception that foster
children are juvenile delinquents.
Proposed taglines for CASA include:
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CASA: Speaking for unheard kids in Kansas courts.
CASA: Special advocates for special kids.
CASA: Putting attention on neglected children.
CASA: Speaking up for the quietest victims of family disputes.
CASA: Stepping up for children when their parents step out.
CASA: A lifetime of learning is just about to be put to use. Make a difference in the life of a
child. Be a CASA.
CASA: Give back and make a difference in the life of a child.
CASA: Bringing together children in need with adults who care.
Strategy #2: Showcase all the ways CASA adds value
It is critical that CASA present clear, concise and consistent messages about its services and about
the value added by a child’s special advocate – for the child, for the court, and for the volunteer
or financial supporter. The messages will complement CASA’s vision, mission and strategies, and
should be used in all communications, including
e-newsletters, brochures, Web site, social media, media interviews and public speaking
engagements. It will help ensure all communications consistently articulate what the organization
is about in a way that captures the attention of reporters and editors to enhance the chances for
media coverage. These messages should be shared with all CASA supporters and employees.
Tactic: Web Site Redesign
Secondary research shows the Web site is the first place an inquiring potential supporter will visit
to become better acquainted with CASA, and a rich Web site will garner more donations. There
are specific ways the current Web site could be edited to more strongly draw in prospects.
We propose considering a re-design similar to the following mock-up, which is more visually
inviting, highlights opportunities for people to engage with CASA, and leads with “what’s in it for
the supporter”.
41
We recommend the Web site change as suggested above to more clearly communicate what
CASA is and what a CASA does. The new design directly calls out a clear, consistent message as
well as a direct call to action to get involved that invites prospective supporters with brighter
color and more optimistic color tones, while still incorporating National CASA’s branding (red and
blue) for cohesiveness.
The design and layout above was created after studying other successful organizations and
websites in the metro as well as nationally – such as: safehome.org25,
www.bigbrothersbigsisterskc.org26, charitywater.org27 and www.sunflowerhouse.org28.
42
Strategy #3: Forge local partnerships
Tactic: Visibility via Non-Profit Partners
 Reach out to the United Way and learn how CASA can be more of a top non-profit with
which the United Way communicates and engages. For example, the United Way visits and
gives presentations to local businesses’ staff meetings around its annual campaign. United
Way representatives typically highlight a local United Way member organization at these
visits and reasons why the organization is valuable for the community.
 Approach state organizations that align with the opportunity CASA provides its supporters,
such as the Kansas Retired Teachers’ Association, and similar organizations for retired
legal workers and social workers. Become the non-profit partner of choice for
organizations important to the primary target audience, and provide newsletter and Web
site copy to that organization to maximize its existing communications channels in ways
that benefit CASA.
 To forge relationships with local corporate foundations and potential corporate sponsors,
consider bringing them a “program in a box” so they know exactly how they could get
involved with CASA. Consider doing this with a mobile texting campaign. If the corporate
partner fronts the start-up cost, every time someone donates money to CASA via a text,
the person can be served a mobile ad featuring the corporate sponsor. For every $10
donation to CASA via a text, the organization will receive $9.50 (50 cents is charged for
processing).
Tactic: Visibility via Well-Known Brands and Personalities
 Establish a partnership with a local “celebrity” such as Christa Dubill, reporter/anchor for
KHSB-TV (NBC). Christa maintains a regular TV segment and blog titled “Everyday Parent”
in which she discusses parent/child focused stories. She may be interested in having Lois
guest post at her blog or in interviewing a former CASA child who is now a successful
parent for a human interest piece. Use her celebrity status to create visibility and
communicate CASA’s messages about local children.
 Expand the current Boulevard Brewery partnership to reach the secondary target
audience in new ways. Distribute invitations via Facebook and Twitter for young
professionals to learn more about CASA at a Boulevard happy hour. Employ Gen X
ambassadors to help invite their friends and colleagues.
 Approach Hen House to develop a cause marketing campaign for the month of May,
National Foster Care Awareness Month. Suggest Hen House clerks wear buttons for the
month that say, “Ask me about CASA” and ask each customer if he or she would like to
donate to CASA as an addition to her or his grocery purchase.
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Strategy #4: Use low to no-cost marketing channels and reach new audiences
While CASA’s current events are revenue drivers for the organization, it would not make sense to
add events to the current marketing communications mix in order to keep the overall approach
integrated. At the same time, direct mail is not a revenue driver and requires great investment.
Our team recommends focusing more resources on PR, radio public service announcements
(PSAs), word of mouth and social media, and fewer on adding to events or direct mail in order to
maximize return on resources.
Tactic: Public Relations
The media decides what is newsworthy, not the organization. So, while not guaranteed coverage,
PR is a momentum builder, building a brand through publicity and word of mouth, the top two
consumer influencers. Both are requirements to raise awareness.
A variety of story placements in a variety of outlets is what it takes to reach the target audience.
Publicity and word of mouth provide credibility and pique the interest of both the target audience
and the media. People become aware of brands and decide to support them because of personal
recommendations or influencers. The media acts as an influencer on the target audience.
In addition to its low cost, PR delivers outside validation and credibility for messages stemming
directly from the organization, helping reduce skepticism. Media coverage is competitive and so
CASA’s approach must differentiate and be consistent. Sending a press release to the local news
station does not lead to a story – in today’s digital media environment, press releases are used for
fact checking more than story development. Customized, compelling and timely pitches with
constant follow-up lead to story placements.
Tactic: Radio PSA
A radio PSA can be a zero-cost initiative to get your message out in the mainstream media;
however, this tactic is reliant upon developing relationships with local stations. Having a script
already completed will help the stations to simply voice over and offer a certain quantity of PSA
spots during a certain timeframe. Radio is not the strongest driver, but a way to help boost its
effectiveness is to feature the supporter’s perspective rather than leading with the children’s
needs.
Tactic: CASA Leadership Visibility
In order to help not only build awareness among individuals locally, but also forge strategic
partnerships at a corporate/professional level, CASA should identify speaking opportunities for its
leadership. This tactic will help to position the organization and its members as the leading
authority on child advocacy and to increase awareness of how the metro benefits from CASA
services. This would include identifying speaking opportunities at local/regional conferences,
industry meetings, forums, and appropriate partner venues, such as Chamber lunch-and-learns or
women’s leadership forums, like Central Exchange.
44
In addition, rather than sending media releases on upcoming events, CASA leadership should
consider developing a series of op-ed pieces on the value the organization provides Johnson and
Wyandotte Counties to submit to local newspapers. Today’s economy has negatively affected the
print media landscape, and so providing content to print outlets that have fewer staffers than
ever is welcome. Each published article provides a timely nugget for CASA to share with
prospective corporate donors -- along with a request for a meeting.
Tactic: Online Newsroom
Two keys to creating and maintaining good relationships with the media are responsiveness and
accessibility based on each reporter’s individual needs. To support this effort, we recommend
creating an online newsroom. An online newsroom could house media kit materials,
presentations, story ideas, videos and photos, links to pertinent sites, statistics, and other
materials that will make the Web site a valuable tool to which reporters would regularly turn.
Tactic: Online Engagement Opportunities via CASA Site
Integrate tools into CASA’s Web site redesign that encourage conversation, interaction, return
visits and content sharing. Doing this also helps give CASA ambassadors tools to spark word of
mouth. It also demonstrates to current and prospective supporters that CASA cares about their
interest, ideas and involvement.
Components to consider adding to the current static CASA Web site include: (Note: See Additional
Information section below for implementation ideas.)





CASA Blog
Quizzes and Polls
Ask-the-Expert
Video
Ambassador’s Resource Center
Tactic: Word of Mouth
This is the medium that is currently most used by CASA chapters nationally. Continue to leverage
word of mouth marketing. Provide talking points and key messages to current CASA supporters
and volunteers to spread the word of CASA. Suggest outlets for these brand advocates to
communicate about CASA such as online forums via Facebook, Twitter and blogging as well as
speaking at community events around town and spreading the word about CASA. Take advantage
of any and all opportunities to talk about CASA, CASA volunteers and CASA needs.
45
Tactic: Social Media
We suggest CASA eliminate the current hard copy newsletter and the associated printing expense,
and put that budget toward Web site content and development, as well as audience engagement
opportunities in social media. Below is a list of social media opportunities CASA should pursue in
2010.
YouTube: CASA Conversations
Create a YouTube channel for CASA. This tactic is very simple. With a gmail username and
password, a channel can be created. Use a simple Flip camera to capture and post videos
to YouTube and integrate the link via all social media platforms such as posting the link to
Facebook and Twitter. Highlight interviews with CASA staff and supporters. Give a video
glimpse of a volunteer training. Encourage others to spread and pass along the link.
Facebook: Fan Page
Create a Facebook Fan page today! Create a consistent visual element to be included on
everything possible. This consistent visual element is the “Facebook Fan Page” icon or text
that says “Fan us on Facebook.” Leverage Facebook by posting updates, notifying fans of
upcoming events and calls to action for fans to get involved. Facebook is a great way to
spread digital word of mouth. Add a tip jar to the fan page to collect donations. Keep fans
updated and keep them coming back.
Facebook: Ask-a-CASA
Another way CASA could put its supporters to work in an ambassador capacity to extend
the organization’s reach would be through a Facebook Q&A. Time-specific opportunities
to engage with brand representatives (in this case, volunteers, donors, Friends of CASA
members, or even former CASA child) via a Facebook fan page are gaining in popularity.
This might be a chance to take informational sessions to the social media space. This tactic
would likely increase the number of CASA Facebook fans. Promoting the Facebook Q&A
sessions on the CASA Web site should drive traffic and participation. One participant could
even be drawn at random at the end of each session to win a door prize. Alternatively, to
keep this tactic fresh, CASA could ask for question submissions via the fan page, then
video tape answers to all questions gathered and post the video response at both the
Facebook fan page and YouTube.
46
Share Your Story: Three on the Third
One of the reasons CASA should develop and engage ambassadors is to tap into supporters’ builtin communities. That said, it makes sense to employ tactics asking those supporters to get
involved in sharing the newly reframed CASA messages. CASA could work with supporters from
across the metro and challenge them to share their CASA stories three different times on the
third of every month. This might be one-on-one with a friend or colleague, by e-mailing a link to a
CASA video to a group of friends, or by posting blurb about why they are a fan of CASA on
Facebook. To ensure participation, each supporter will be asked to report back to CASA how they
shared their story and what kind of responses they got, and all reports will be entered into a
monthly sweepstakes drawing for some kind of incentive, like a free lunch or special reserved
parking spot. The person and their story also will be featured on the CASA Web site for that
month.
Tactic: Search Engine Optimization
Prospective supporters will search for CASA online before getting involved, so CASA should take
advantage of easy ways to optimize its online presence, ensuring the right sites and resources rise
to the top of search engine results. Post news releases to PR Central and CASA’s Web site to keep
CASA news popping up higher and higher in search results. Blog about CASA and ensure that
stories written about CASA are posted to the Web site to again keep CASA high on SEO searching.
Strategy #5: Adopt other chapters’ successes
Tactic: Increase staff with interns
Because CASA doesn’t have funding for an additional staff member, we propose an internship
program for college students. By offering college credit, this would be an unpaid opportunity for
students to gain experience. It would expose CASA to the next generation. The students can
handle updating the social media sites. Also, their input will be valuable on the technology front.
Tactic: Reach out to strong chapters to share ideas
In our primary research, we found that the following chapters offered ideas that should be
considered:
CASA of Travis County
CASAblanca Gala: As the title suggests, in this annual event, named for the movie of the
same name, one room is reserved for charity gambling. In addition, there is a live and a
silent auction. Organizers expect 380 attendees and revenue of approximately $200,000.
CASA of Savannah-Chatham County
Dancing with Savannah Stars: A spin-off of the national phenomenon that is ABC’s
“Dancing with the Stars”, featuring local celebrities. Celebrity participants partner with a
professional or veteran dancer in the Savannah dance community and learn a
choreographed dance designed especially for them. The event raises more than $30,000.
47
Texas CASA29
Speak Up For Kids CASA 5K is presented by sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
and coordinated by Texas CASA. Since the series began in 2006, more than 13,000 Texans
and local sponsors have joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Texas CASA in supporting
the CASA 5K, and the series is set to cross the $1 million mark in 2010.
Measures of Success
A successful integrated marketing communications plan is measurable and should be evaluated
and reported to the board on a consistent basis over the course of the year.
Establish benchmarks, then evaluate key initiatives based on:
 Reach (Impressions)
o Audience/listeners/viewers/readers
o Web site traffic, unique visitors, time on site
o Social media fans, followers, comments
o Event attendees
 Relevance
o Conversation tone
o Key message pull-through
 Engagement
o Comments/posts/tweets
o Word of mouth referrals
48
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR FURTHER TACTIC IMPLEMENTATION
Tactic: Proactive News Bureau
To generate a quantity of high quality local media stories about CASA and its supporters, we
recommend launching a proactive news bureau, creating a proactive, steady drumbeat of news
coverage through 2010. This approach is designed to get the most mileage from available budget
and resources, while also directing people to connect with CASA online, rather than spending the
majority of the budget on direct mail or PSAs.
Conducting an initial message development and story-gathering session with CASA leadership to
identify clear and consistent story opportunities should serve as the core of this strategy. Regular
follow-up sessions will ensure that new opportunities are captured and developed, and messages
are refined.
Utilizing the key messages and news stories developed in the session, CASA should immediately
begin implementing an aggressive media relations program to keep CASA, and its messages, in
front of the targeted audiences.
Balance various media types based on how the primary and secondary target markets interact
with them. For the primary target market, leverage news media via television and PSAs. For the
secondary target market, leverage digital and social media mediums such as Facebook, Twitter,
local magazines such as 435 South and INK Magazine in addition leverage social media hubs such
as mommy bloggers.
Tactic: Online Engagement Opportunities via CASA Site
More descriptions of the recommended components to consider adding to the current static
CASA Web site include:
 CASA Blog: This function allows Lois, Alyssa and other internal constituents to share in-themoment stories and perspectives on the organization’s accomplishments, needs, recent
data, did-you-knows and success stories. This is also a great forum to draw in other
perspectives, such as guest bloggers who are volunteers or corporate donors to share
their perspectives and reasons they chose to get involved.
 Quizzes and Polls: This function gives people more to do on the site besides learn about
the CASA basics, as a first-time visitor would expect to do. Polls are easy ways to keep
people coming back, and are indirectly a great way to capture quick research.
 Ask-the-Expert: Current communications focus on children’s needs, but why not feature a
legal expert or former family court judge, who could speak to why CASA is so crucial to the
legal system as well? Web site visitors and Facebook fans could submit questions for this
person, which would be fed to the expert to prepare a Q&A post. This section might be
updated on a quarterly basis, featuring a different expert, from outside of the CASA
employee or board base.
49


Video: Video is a great way to tell a richer overall story, but current videos are national in
scope and need to localize the CASA story to Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. Take a Flip
cam and post a day-in-the-life of a CASA video. Take the viewer behind-the-scenes at a
board meeting, a volunteer training, or a meeting with a parent or school (obviously
protecting the child’s identity). We live in a reality-driven media consumption society. The
more you can let people in on what CASA ‘does,’ the more people will become aware and
educated on the important role it plays in the local non-profit landscape.
Ambassadors’ Resource Center: Develop a general PowerPoint presentation with talking
points that any supporter could deliver to their local PTA, church group or book club.
Make spreading the word easy for others to do. Giving them developed tools helps also
keep their messages about CASA in your control. This is also a prime place to make the
new elevator speech and ideas to talk about CASA via personal social media channels
available.
50
Appendix
51
SAMPLE RADIO SCRIPT
Sample Radio Script for CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties
60 seconds
Theme: Volunteer’s perspective and their level of satisfaction
*Female (preferably real person but an actor would suffice) in her late 40’s or early 50’s who has
served at least 20 or more children+. Soft, sort of sullen music in background…
Hi. My name is Virginia Gold and I have 25 children. For the past 18 years I have served as a
volunteer in the Johnson and Wyandotte Counties CASA Chapter where I have become an integral
part of these kids’ lives. They count on me, they believe in me, they need me. Why? I’m their
CASA - a Court Appointed Special Advocate – but that doesn’t [emphasis] really tell you what
CASA does. We represent children who have been neglected, who may be caught up in a custody
battle or who have been physically, emotionally or even sexually abused and we serve them by
ensuring that the judges overseeing their cases, hear their voice.
*Music tempo changes and transitions into more upbeat and “feel good” selection during this
next line] We [slow and methodical with annunciation] are their eyes and their ears in court and
knowing how much they appreciate the part I play in their lives gives me [said with heartfelt
sincerity] complete, full and amazing satisfaction. I am fortunate to live each day with the
realization that these kids now have more opportunities to live more productive lives. You too
will be rewarded… with love, hugs and heartfelt appreciation – Visit us at www.casajwc.org and
be a child’s voice when they need it most.
52
SAMPLE RADIO SCHEDULE
53
54
PRIMARY RESEARCH SURVEYS
What’s your overall impression of CASA?
Results are below from the only open-ended question we asked; which was why do you say
that?, after asking, “What’s your overall impression of CASA? Extremely positive, positive,
neutral, negative, extremely negative and don’t know.
#
1
2
3
4
Response Date
Jan 29, 2010 6:30 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:30 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:32 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:34 PM
5
Jan 29, 2010 6:35 PM
6
7
Jan 29, 2010 6:35 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:36 PM
8
Jan 29, 2010 6:36 PM
9
Jan 29, 2010 6:39 PM
10 Jan 29, 2010 6:40 PM
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
Jan 29, 2010 6:40 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:41 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:41 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:42 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:46 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:46 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:47 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:47 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:48 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:51 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:54 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:56 PM
Jan 29, 2010 6:57 PM
24 Jan 29, 2010 7:11 PM
25
26
27
28
Jan 29, 2010 7:11 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:12 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:16 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:20 PM
Response Text
I don't have any experience with the organization.
never heard of it
Have heard of it, but don't know anyone who has done it
Have not dealt with them - only with Riley and Kingman counties
I have no idea what CASA does. Did not know it even existed until
one minute ago. The answer to question 8 depends on what my
impression of CASA is.
I have never heard of CASA - Wyandotte/Johnson Co
don't know anything about CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties
The work CASA does is VERY important and I'm quite familiar with
the organization and its wonderful outcomes.
Don't live in these counties
because they are trained volunteers looking out for the child/ren's
best interest
don't know anything
I have never heard of it.
I have never heard of Casa
I had not heard of CASA until this survey.
not sure what they do
I don't know about this program yet.
No idea what it is or what they stand for.
I live out of state
have not idea what they do or are
I'm familiar with CASA in Lafayette Cty, MO where I live.
unfamiliar
unfamiliar with them
Have never heard of it before
I haven't heard of it, so I don't have an impression yet. Other than
the name, I assume it is a positive organization for the community.
b/c I don't
I am not informed of their services.
I don't know anything about it.
I have a family member that works with CASA.
55
What’s your overall impression of CASA?
Results are below from the only open-ended question we asked; which was why do you say
that?, after asking, “What’s your overall impression of CASA? Extremely positive, positive,
neutral, negative, extremely negative and don’t know.
#
29
30
31
32
33
Response Date
Jan 29, 2010 7:24 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:24 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:30 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:34 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:35 PM
34 Jan 29, 2010 7:36 PM
35 Jan 29, 2010 7:38 PM
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
Jan 29, 2010 7:51 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:51 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:53 PM
Jan 29, 2010 7:58 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:07 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:08 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:10 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:13 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:17 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:23 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:25 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:39 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:54 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:54 PM
Jan 29, 2010 8:55 PM
51 Jan 29, 2010 8:58 PM
52
53
54
55
56
Jan 29, 2010 9:00 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:00 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:00 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:02 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:04 PM
57 Jan 29, 2010 9:04 PM
58 Jan 29, 2010 9:05 PM
59 Jan 29, 2010 9:06 PM
Response Text
I have heard good things about these programs
First I have heard of CASA Of JO & WY counties.
I have a friend who is a Court Appointed Special Advocate
Don't know much about them.
I have not heard of the organization
I'm familiar with CASA from other cities I've lived in and I assume
the Johnson County CASA organization is similar to those.
I have a positive impression of the people whom I know who are
involved in it.
Because I don't know.
I have never heard of it.
Not that familiar
I have never heard of CASA.
Never heard of it
This is the first time I've heard of CASA
They work with people who need advocates
Have never dealt with them
I don't know what that is
Never involved me
Never heard about it before
never had any issues
A legitimate organization with value to the community
never heard of it
Not familiar with CASA
I'm familiar with what CASA does in other cities and understand its
role. Overall, it has a positive reputation.
Never heard of them until now.
A client that I liked a lot was on the board.
Never heard of it until this survey
Seems like a great organization that helps kids
I am sure they do good work.
I'm not too familiar with it. My aunt is involved and seems to enjoy
it.
I had a friend who was a CASA volunteer
I know what CASA does, but nothing about CASA of Johnson &
Wyandotte Counties specifically
56
What’s your overall impression of CASA?
Results are below from the only open-ended question we asked; which was why do you say
that?, after asking, “What’s your overall impression of CASA? Extremely positive, positive,
neutral, negative, extremely negative and don’t know.
#
Response Date
60 Jan 29, 2010 9:06 PM
61
62
63
64
65
Jan 29, 2010 9:08 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:08 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:09 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:17 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:26 PM
66 Jan 29, 2010 9:28 PM
67 Jan 29, 2010 9:35 PM
68
69
70
71
72
73
Jan 29, 2010 9:38 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:40 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:41 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:47 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:48 PM
Jan 29, 2010 9:48 PM
74 Jan 29, 2010 9:53 PM
75 Jan 29, 2010 10:00 PM
76 Jan 29, 2010 10:14 PM
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
Jan 29, 2010 10:19 PM
Jan 29, 2010 10:29 PM
Jan 29, 2010 10:40 PM
Jan 29, 2010 10:43 PM
Jan 29, 2010 10:50 PM
Jan 29, 2010 10:52 PM
Jan 29, 2010 10:53 PM
Jan 29, 2010 11:00 PM
85 Jan 29, 2010 11:14 PM
86 Jan 29, 2010 11:40 PM
Response Text
I was asked to take this survey and no nothing about the program...I
live in Houston, TX
don't know their effectiveness
I know what CASA is, but don't know anything about them.
Sounds like a wonderful program
Just not that familiar with this organization
Don't know.
I've only heard the name and a little about what they do. I don't
have enough information to think either positively or negatively
about it.
Everyone I know who is associated with CASA speaks very highly of
it.
Unfamiliar with this organization
Seem to have a great mission
heard about it from Stacy Abernethy
I have never heard or had any thing to do with CASA
I have heard that they offer great programs and services
I have heard that they offer great programs and services
They represent kids with no voice and that's an extremely tough job
to do.
I am not familiar enough to give an impression.
The mission of CASA of Johnson County is to recruit and train
community volunteers to speak out for abused and neglected
children in court proceedings so that they can be permanently
placed in a safe, nurturing environment as quickly as possible
have never heard of them until today
They offer a valuable service.
They offer needed services.
I know they help people in need of it
not familiar with their work
I have never heard of this organization.
Know little about it
I know nothing about CASA
I'm not familiar with CASA in Johnson or Wyandotte Counties, only
Douglas County.
Don't know what it is
57
What’s your overall impression of CASA?
Results are below from the only open-ended question we asked; which was why do you say
that?, after asking, “What’s your overall impression of CASA? Extremely positive, positive,
neutral, negative, extremely negative and don’t know.
#
Response Date
Response Text
87 Jan 30, 2010 12:17 AM No Exposure
I have a positive impression of CASA in general, but cannot
88 Jan 30, 2010 12:30 AM
specifically comment on CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties
89 Jan 30, 2010 12:46 AM not enough info to make a statement
90 Jan 30, 2010 1:42 AM Believe that this is an intrusion of undertrained noprofessionals.
91 Jan 30, 2010 2:19 AM General impression gained over time
92 Jan 30, 2010 2:57 AM I've never heard of this organization.
I live in Texas and don't know what Kansas rules and laws are in this
93 Jan 30, 2010 3:54 AM
area.
helping kids lovingly in tough situations is something wonderful to
94 Jan 30, 2010 4:00 AM
do
95 Jan 30, 2010 4:22 AM The concept of the program is positive.
Don't know anything about this specific chapter/group (but have an
96 Jan 30, 2010 6:01 AM
overall positive impression of CASA.)
Familiar with the CASA organization, not Johnson & Wyandotte
97 Jan 30, 2010 6:17 AM
specifically
I know someone who does this type of work. It is heartbreaking but,
98 Jan 30, 2010 1:33 PM
very important.
99 Jan 30, 2010 2:05 PM I need more information
100 Jan 30, 2010 3:04 PM unfamiliar with program
101 Jan 30, 2010 4:27 PM I don't know much about it.
102 Jan 30, 2010 4:44 PM help to better or community and mentor to those in need
103 Jan 30, 2010 4:55 PM They help make difficult situations better.
104 Jan 30, 2010 5:18 PM Don't know enough to have a positive or negative impression
105 Jan 30, 2010 5:18 PM no idea what it is
106 Jan 30, 2010 5:23 PM NEVER HEARD OF IT
107 Jan 30, 2010 5:24 PM haven't heard about it
108 Jan 30, 2010 8:14 PM It’s new to me!
109 Jan 30, 2010 8:42 PM I don't know anything about it
110 Jan 31, 2010 2:49 AM Never heard of CASA before this survey
111 Jan 31, 2010 4:03 PM only a little familiar
112 Jan 31, 2010 4:40 PM I have never heard of it.
113 Jan 31, 2010 4:41 PM I have no experience upon which to base an opinion.
114 Jan 31, 2010 5:12 PM Have never heard of it.
I'm familiar with CASA in other locations (a sorority supported CASA
115 Jan 31, 2010 5:51 PM
at the college I attended), and from what I know about the
58
What’s your overall impression of CASA?
Results are below from the only open-ended question we asked; which was why do you say
that?, after asking, “What’s your overall impression of CASA? Extremely positive, positive,
neutral, negative, extremely negative and don’t know.
#
Response Date
116 Jan 31, 2010 7:59 PM
117 Jan 31, 2010 8:45 PM
118 Jan 31, 2010 10:18 PM
119 Jan 31, 2010 11:32 PM
120 Feb 1, 2010 1:36 AM
121 Feb 1, 2010 2:51 AM
122 Feb 1, 2010 2:56 AM
123 Feb 1, 2010 3:28 AM
124 Feb 1, 2010 4:00 AM
125 Feb 1, 2010 4:05 AM
126 Feb 1, 2010 4:33 AM
127 Feb 1, 2010 4:47 AM
128 Feb 1, 2010 5:29 AM
129 Feb 1, 2010 5:48 AM
130 Feb 1, 2010 12:28 PM
131 Feb 1, 2010 2:12 PM
132 Feb 1, 2010 2:28 PM
133 Feb 1, 2010 2:31 PM
134 Feb 1, 2010 3:43 PM
135 Feb 1, 2010 3:48 PM
136 Feb 1, 2010 4:16 PM
137 Feb 1, 2010 4:34 PM
138 Feb 1, 2010 4:34 PM
139 Feb 1, 2010 4:43 PM
140 Feb 1, 2010 9:11 PM
141 Feb 1, 2010 9:14 PM
142 Feb 1, 2010 10:05 PM
143 Feb 1, 2010 10:16 PM
144 Feb 2, 2010 1:19 AM
Response Text
organization as a whole, I think it is a great cause. However, I
haven't heard anything in particular about CASA of Johnson &
Wyandotte Counties while being in KC, so I can't form an opinion of
them.
Its altruistic nature is compelling.
I live in California and only know of Casa here.
I know about CASA nationally, but not specifically this one
I don't live in Kansas or Missouri and don't know much about CASA.
I don't know much about the organization, just heard of it.
Never heard of it
Don't know anything about it.
I have not been involved with CASA; therefore do not have any
comments.
I have had good experiences with my patients at Children's Mercy
Hospital
Not familiar
n/a
it plays an important role in protecting/supporting children
Just a gut feeling
From what I've heard, CASA helps to give children a voice.
Don't live in Kansas or KC area.
know nothing about CASA, don't live near either county
I have no knowledge of CASA
Never heard of them before
They "do good" for the community and families; volunteers put A
LOT of time into their contribution.
Never heard of it.
Haven't heard of it
Never heard
Haven't seen a lot about CASA
I am not familiar with the organization
I do not know much about it.
I have never seen them in action. I have only heard of CASA.
I have no first hand experience with CASA.
I have never heard of them
I don't know about CASA.
59
What’s your overall impression of CASA?
Results are below from the only open-ended question we asked; which was why do you say
that?, after asking, “What’s your overall impression of CASA? Extremely positive, positive,
neutral, negative, extremely negative and don’t know.
#
Response Date
Response Text
Wasn't aware of CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties prior to
145 Feb 2, 2010 8:46 PM this survey (though I was aware of the Douglas County CASA
program).
146 Feb 3, 2010 3:04 AM First I have heard
147 Feb 3, 2010 1:40 PM Don't know much about them to form opinion
148 Feb 3, 2010 8:27 PM Don't have enough information.
149 Feb 4, 2010 9:15 PM I am not familiar with CASA
150 Feb 5, 2010 4:40 AM Have not heard a lot about the organization
151 Feb 5, 2010 8:44 PM I have volunteered for CASA but in Riley County
152 Feb 6, 2010 5:24 AM Never heard of them before
My aunt serves as a CASA and I know how dedicated she is to her
153 Feb 7, 2010 8:52 PM
work and the kids she helps.
154 Feb 7, 2010 10:38 PM Because I am a CASA
155 Feb 8, 2010 3:41 AM I don't know what CASA is.
156 Feb 9, 2010 4:45 AM Don't know a lot about the group
157 Feb 9, 2010 3:09 PM Not enough experience to form an opinion.
158 Feb 9, 2010 5:41 PM I think it's a very valuable organization
60
PRIMARY RESEARCH INTERVIEWS TRANSCRIPTS
Daniel Cahill; Judge Wyandotte County District Court; In-depth email interview; February 23, 2010
1.
Casa volunteers appear frequently in my Court. They are appointed at any point in a case
at the request of a party, a Court Services Officer or by Susan Hancock, the CASA supervisor or
volunteers. They interact with the children who are the subject of a case and visit with
placements, parents, and case workers to assess the services provided to children as well as the
children’s well-being. I see CASA as bringing a unique perspective to a case in that they do not
view a situation through concepts of social work, psychology, or sociology but through a common
sense, lay person view of a child’s situation. This allows a very personal concern for a particular
child which by its nature differs from, and adds to, the professionals’ assessments.
2.
CASA has stringent policies and procedures set up through the State CASA associations and
standards set out by National CASA. Their requirements are not only carefully thought out and
thorough but well monitored by constant audit and reviews.
3.
The statistics bear out that children who are served by CASA spend less time in the foster
care system, have more positive outcomes, and a better overall opinion of their experiences than
those who are not so served. A child who leaves the systems with those positives is more likely to
be successful in the long term.
4.
Yes. I find they have unique insight into a child’s situation.
5.
Obviously each case is different. It has occurred in this Court that the participation of CASA
has provided a key piece to allow this Court to make an appropriate judgment of the situation and
resolve the case accordingly. Much more often, the CASA has simply provided the child, and his
family, the support and care to lower the child’s emotional trauma, and speed up success of both
parents and children in resolving the issues.
6.
Quite simply wisely raising and spending funds to increase the number of volunteers.
CASA’s effectiveness relies completely on their ability to attract and retain qualified volunteers.
7.
I have attempted to understand and respond to this question but it frankly doesn’t make
sense to me.
8. Without a doubt, positive stories of CASA volunteers and children served by them are the
greatest selling points. Ashley Rhodes-Courter’s inspirational
story and similar experiences
of volunteers will attract donors and volunteers.
9. Yes. The ‘Special Advocate’ doesn’t identify who is being advocated for, nor does it identify
CASA’s special relationship with the children they serve.
Although I really like the connotation
of ‘Voices for Children’ , it doesn’t identify the agency’s relationship with the judicial system that
separates it from other child advocacy groups. Some sort of hybrid between the two
demonstrating the Court sanctioned nature of CASA and its advocacy for children might be
considered.
10. I wish the best success to CASA and this endeavor.
Hon. Daniel Cahill
Judge of the District Court
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Wyandotte County, Kansas
Division 14
Thomas Foster, Chief Judge Johnson County District Court; In-depth email interview; February 20,
2010
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
I have interaction with CASAs or CASA volunteers approximately two times per week. I
consider my interactions with CASA to be extremely important, constructive, and
meaningful. The CASAs provide a very important service to the children of high
conflict parents. CASA’s involvement often prevents these cases from becoming more
serious CINC cases, gives children a voice in court, and leads to a calmer, safer, more
nurturing living environment for children..
From my perspective CASA functions quite efficiently.
CASA’s involvement provides immediate protection to children of high conflict parents
and gives the children an immediate voice in Court which is often missing or very
difficult to obtain in custody cases.
I welcome and look forward to CASA’s opinion because it comes from a neutral,
trained child advocate.
CASA’s reports often have a direct affect on the outcome of the case. CASA’s
contributions are extremely important.
In my opinion, there is a greater need for CASAs in high conflict custody litigation than
in neglect and Child in Need of Care cases. The State provides considerable
investigative and social support services in neglect cases. There are no such services
available for high conflict custody cases, which are often borderline neglect cases.
I perceive a CASA to be a combination of the family matriarch or patriarch, the wise
aunt who takes control in a time of need, the school principal, the family doctor, and
the local police officer.
I believe the best response would come from testimonials by individuals who have had
a CASA volunteer help them through difficult times.
I like the name ‘CASA’. I don’t know whether there is a name that the public could
identify with more easily.
Nothing else at this time.
Thomas E. Foster
Chief Judge
Johnson County District Court
100 N. Kansas Ave.
Olathe, KS 66061
913.715.3860
thomas.foster@jocogov.org
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Kathleen Sloan; Johnson County District Court Judge; In-depth phone interview; February 23,
2010
1. Please provide an overview of your daily involvement with CASA or CASA advocate
volunteers - a philosophical or introspective opinion would be welcome as well.
Interaction through court hearings. They will appear in permanency or review hearings. She goes
around the room and asks if anyone has anything to add. Reads all reports the night before.
Average length 8 to 10 – covers contact with everyone involved in that child’s life.
CASA’s are very important to the children – very good advocates in making sure things get
accomplished.
Do they give a recommendation?
They fill in the missing pieces. See casa report. A lot more information than she gets from KVC.
Judge does not get them soon enough – only criticism. Casa report holds a lot of weight. She will
stop a hearing if people say they have not seen or been able to review the report.
2. What are your thoughts/opinions on the function of the organization? Is it efficient? Is there
room for improvement? If so, where? How? Any insight you are able to provide is helpful.
Suggestion to get reports sooner more so, so that everyone involved has read the report.
A way to get volunteers faster. Why do CASA’s get to pick and choose their cases?
3. How do the CASA volunteers affect the children involved? In your opinion what are the longterm effects of these relationships? Affect the children a great deal w/o the children even
realizing it. Wish there was a way to have more courtesy CASA’s. For example, there could be a
geographical limit (no one wants to travel to Garden City for example).
3. Do you welcome the opinions of the CASA? Why or Why not?
5. Along those same lines, how much does the CASA affect the outcome of the case? How would
you rate the CASA's contributions?
6. Based on your observations and involvement with CASA, do you any suggestions or insight into
best practices as it relates to dollars and volunteers? More money would mean more supervisors.
Desperately need more volunteers. What can I do to help? She suggests that they call CASA.
7. Specific Messages: How would you describe CASA if it were a person? Why do you describe
CASA as you just did? Involved teacher, involved aunt, local police officer, etc. There’s already a
guardian ad litum why do you need us? The JL are busy people. Great collaboration between the
CASA the GAL – it rounds it out. Better picture painted for me when CASA is involved.
8. What do you think people respond best to when it comes to informing others about CASA? The
eyes and ears for the court.
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9. Based on your observations over the years, do you think the name of CASA (Court Appointed
Special Advocates) should be changed? For example, some Texas chapters call themselves Child
Advocates of Texas or Voices for Children. CASA is institutional now to a certain extent. Voices for
children – no. Child Advocates of Kansas. No strong feelings on this.
10 . Any final thoughts or additional points you'd like to share? I wish that National CASA doesn’t
understand that children need a voice. Just because they aren’t abuse or neglect doesn’t mean
they don’t need CASA. A lot of divorce cases teeter on a child in need of care.
CASA is in a difficult position because the parent cannot read the report. I’d like the CASA to speak
up and be more outgoing/vocal during hearings. Feel comfortable being more vocal.
Judge Sloan
Judge Sloan direct line – 913.715.3842
Thomas Kelly Ryan; Johnson County District Court Judge; In-depth email interview; March 2, 2010
1.
My involvement as a judge in the Family Court Department of the Johnson County
District Court with CASA is somewhat sporadic due to the limited number of cases/families that I
see in court who are working with a CASA volunteer. The more frequent “contact” with CASA is
through the appointment of a volunteer to interview and investigate matters concerning the
children involved in divorce and post-divorce matters. These reports are customarily thorough
and insightful assistance to me in attempting to assess the best interests of the children.
2.
I am a supporter of the CASA system. In the domestic law setting (as opposed to the
Child in Need of Care proceedings), my only complaint is the lack of available CASA workers to
assist families in divorce and paternity actions. It is my understanding that the national CASA
governing body has determined that no more than 20% of its resources are to be utilized in
domestic cases, on the supposition that CINC cases and children in foster care settings are the
families most in need of these services. My viewpoint is obviously slanted but I truly wish that the
services of CASA would be made available to all families in distress, including those children
experiencing the extreme conflict that too often accompanies the divorce process.
3.
My knowledge of the impact of CASA volunteers on the children is second-hand.
However, it is very evident from the reports and subsequent proceedings in these volatile cases
that the children view the workers as their advocate or “representative” to ensure that the judge
hearing the case is aware of and appropriately considers the children’s perspectives. I am quite
certain that many of these children feel that the CASA worker is the only person who is
supporting them in their struggle to have a voice in the process that controls their lives.
4. I am always open to the opinions and insights of the CASA workers. As noted above, their
work is a unique service to the Court in assessing the “real situation” that never really is shown in
the courtroom.
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5. The reports from CASA are critical in the overall evidence and assessment of the case by the
judge. While the reports and input are not exclusively relied upon in making custody
determinations, the value of the information is indeed priceless, when other avenues are not
realistic or possible (such as requiring the child(ren) to testify or for the judge to interview the
children).
6. I cannot adequately comment on the financing portion of the CASA program, other than my
understanding of the funding scenario set forth in #2 above.
7. CASA is the “truth cop” that often learns critical information that may not be evident to others
involved in the legal process, who by definition are representing other persons in the family unit
whose position are not aligned with the children’s best interests. The CASA worker is a superb
undercover investigator who can assist the family and the judge in making decisions that are
child-centered and realistic, when all other information may point in another direction or
advocate for a position that does not account for the child’s perspective.
8. I think people only understand CASA and its value when they are involved in a court matter or
when they hear the real-life story of a volunteer’s impact on a child’s life through the often
drawn-out court process in CINC or divorce cases.
9. I think that the term “child” or “children” could be used in the title of the advocate program.
10. Thank you for your work in evaluating the CASA program. I am certain that your study will
help CASA to assess its own capabilities and possibilities for helping children in the judicial system.
Kelly Ryan
Thomas Kelly Ryan
District Court Judge
Division 17
Johnson County Courthouse
100 N. Kansas Avenue
Olathe, Kansas 66061
913.715.3910
FAX 913.715.3919
Kelly.Ryan@jocogov.org
Judge Allen Slater; Johnson County District Court Judge; In-depth phone Interview; February 18,
2010
1. Please provide an overview of your daily involvement with CASA or CASA advocate volunteers a philosophical or introspective opinion would be welcome as well.
The first experience he had with CASA was hearing the abuse and neglect cases from 1997 to
2004 which are the Child In Need of Care (CINC). He now hears the divorce and paternity cases
which are to determine custody. He uses CASA volunteers if they are available. He has had to
wait for CASA volunteers and it varies by case. He can proceed without a CASA volunteer and he
65
does. It is nice to have a CASA in the case because it provides an outside view and they don’t
have the emotional involvement that the parents have when going through a custody case. He
said that he can’t rely on what the parents tell him.
2. What are your thoughts/opinions on the function of the organization? Is it efficient? Is there
room for improvement? If so, where? How? Any insight you are able to provide is helpful.
There is a Kansas Supreme Court rule that tells a CASA what to do and it relates to district courts
it is rule #110. There is a list of six functions for the CASA, it is not all inclusive but it is a start. He
expects them to meet the children and parents and if they have time talk to the school because
the school or daycare are good sources of information to who is the primary care giver. They give
him reports to see if the needs of the children are being met. He feels that the CASAs are
efficient, get right to the point. The only improvement is that we need more CASAs and they
need more funding. Most CASA volunteers are from Johnson County.
http://www.kscourts.org/rules/Rule-Info.asp?r1=Rules+Relating+to+District+Courts&r2=238
3. How do the CASA volunteers affect the children involved? In your opinion what are the longterm effects of these relationships?
He thinks it is important that the kids know that there is a rationale adult that cares about them.
CASAs affect the outcome because the parents know that sooner or later that we are going to find
out what the truth is. It helps find out which parents want to be seriously involved with the
children or want to pay less child support. The CINC children, he sees that the social workers,
attorneys, and judges change and the only person consistent is the CASA. He has had one CASA
adopt a child. CASAs help in a broader sense of pushing the cases along and keeping the kids out
of foster care. Lois Rice could tell us with or without a CASA how long the case will last.
4. Do you welcome the opinions of the CASA? Why or Why not?
Yes, he said earlier it is really difficult to hear from the parents because they don’t always tell the
truth. The CASA report is particularly helpful if it confirms what he hears from other sources such
as the psychologist or court service officers. Johnson County has court service officers that do
evaluations on the family as well. They help determine: How much parenting time should be
allowed and when?
5. Along those same lines, how much does the CASA affect the outcome of the case? How would
you rate the CASA's contributions?
The CASA is a positive influence on the case. Hopefully, we are making orders that are helping the
parents and children. Higher Ground is a six week program for a parent that teaches techniques
to use in a divorce setting. It is taught by the court service officers and is designed for parents
that have problems negotiating or communicating with each other. CASA might recommend
66
counseling or drug and alcohol treatment. It is better for children if the parents agree and are
respectful and that is based on research. It is worse for children if the parents are bitter and their
development can be adversely affected. High conflict families are 10 to 15% of the cases that
have lasted 5 to 10 years but they consume a lot of the resources. He would like a case to be
wrapped up in a year’s time. He said a third of their cases work out their problems on their own.
If you work with another third, they will come back for a little bit of help. It is hard to rate or a
way to measure in the divorce cases how effective that they are but it a big help to the judge to
decide parenting time and or placement. It is a qualitative result because the children are being
watched more closely.
6. Based on your observations and involvement with CASA, do you any suggestions or insight into
best practices as it relates to dollars and volunteers?
No, he feels that the CASAs are well trained and he doesn’t have a problem. There is a lack of
resources because they need more funding and people. They don’t require the CASA to come to
court so they don’t have to miss work, they can do this in the evening. Typically more women
than men and they are usually in their forties and fifties.
7. Specific Messages: How would you describe CASA if it were a person? Why do you describe
CASA as you just did?
It is a caring person and someone that is doing this for the public good and not for any selfish
reasons. A very civic minded person trying to make the community better. He described this as
he did because he worked with CASAs as a judge for the past 13 years. They are not doing it for
the money because there is no money, it is all volunteer work. A lot of these folks donate time
and money.
8. What do you think people respond best to when it comes to informing others about CASA?
When they find out volunteers are just volunteers, they are doing this pro bono. It is word of
mouth and occasionally a newspaper article. There is a volunteer center in Johnson County that
will recommend an array of community services. It might be called the volunteer center.
9. Based on your observations over the years, do you think the name of CASA (Court Appointed
Special Advocates) should be changed? For example, some Texas chapters call themselves Child
Advocates of Texas or Voices for Children.
No, they have worked hard to publicize the name.
10. Any final thoughts or additional points you'd like to share?
No.
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Judge Allen Slater-Johnson County District Court
100 North Kansas Avenue
Olathe, KS 66061-3278
(913) 715-3831
IDI Phone Interview: Texas CASA (Austin)-Denise Conway, Local and National Board Member,
Mon, Jan 25 2010
General overview of your involvement/role with CASA/Child Advocates
Local Board for 18 years, National for 4 years.
How she Mother raised 5 alone because father was abusive. When introduced to CASA she
realized that mother was a gift. Life would have been totally different if it weren’t for the strength
of her mother. CASA was a way to pay back for what the wonderful things CASA did for her life.
Kids don’t have strength but by providing a CASA they have a strength and a voice.
Could not do what volunteers do from a volunteer standpoint to a personal point. Better served
by raising money to make sure they have funding.
Best practices as it relates to dollars and volunteers?
Black tie event- Local chapter’s 25th anniversary. On 27th of February they have black tie gala CASA
Blanca. She was involved in starting the fundraiser. It is a sold out event at the Four Seasons.
When they started (15 years ago) they knew to make sure there are the following 1) Food boys
will eat! 2) Entertainment/Action- Guys want interaction and something to do 3) In the middle of
auction they have a CASA child tell their story (aged out) and then do Paddles Up (start at $2,000
which equates to electricity, etc into general funds all the way down to $100). “This money could
buy a child a new prom dress or a class ring…it will be the only thing in their life they will
accomplish.” $75,000 raised annually
Do you have someone who is a full time employee searching for volunteers and sponsorships?
What does the Board do?
They have a full time Development Director on staff with an assistant.
For example the Coordinator does the media buying and obtains an in-house discount. The Board
is responsible for auction items, foundations and ongoing fundraising.
How would you describe CASA if it were a person?
The CASA volunteer their whole goal is to take care of the child. It’s about the child and their
needs. The goal is always to do reunification. Sometimes that’s not best for the child because
mom or dads do not want to put the effort in or they are too drugged out. It’s all about the child
and what’s best for that child.
68
Do you have advocates to spread world of mouth? Lots of it is word of mouth. Actually it’s
primarily about WOM! When she talks about CASA someone always says “I think I know
someone” but I don’t know exactly what they do. For example I knew Denise was on the Board
but not specifically what she did or what CASA was about. Denise shared her story with a friend
whom retired and moved to the East Coast and via WOM learned about CASA and is now a
volunteer.
Social Media Practices?
Nationally they are getting ready to do Social Media. She just returned from a National Board
meeting in Seattle whole thing on Social Media. The VP of Marketing for Dell is on the Board and
is confidentially working on a deal with Razor Fish who will donate their Digital services including
Social Media. As the local level Denise knows it is important but they do not have a person who
has time to manage the social outlets as of now.
What’s your take on the Houston chapter branching out from the name CASA?
Sometimes you need to change name because you take a different twist. They are apart on CASA,
just a different twist.
IDI Phone Interview Dena Miller, Marketing Manager Child Advocates of Texas, Tues, Jan 26, 2010
Child Advocates, Inc.
2401 Portsmouth, Suite 210
Houston, TX 77098
713.529.1396 x212
General overview of your involvement/role with CASA/Child Advocates?
Child Advocates, Inc. is Harris County (Houston), Texas’ Court Appointed Special Advocate
Program. We recruit, train and support volunteers from the Houston community who speak up
for the best interest of abused and neglected children in foster care. I am the Marketing Manager
for Child Advocates, Inc. http://www.childadvocates.org/what.htm
Why did you change your name from CASA and how has the name change helped you?
We never used CASA in our name – we’ve been Child Advocates, Inc. since our inception in 1984.
The different names of all the different programs can be very confusing for potential funders and
volunteers. We simply do our best to explain that the name of our organization is Child
Advocates, Inc. and that we are Harris County’s court appointed special advocate (CASA) program.
There are more than 1,000 programs like ours across the country, however, each program recruits
volunteers and solicits funding independently.
Best practices as it relates to dollars and volunteers?
 Orientation sessions – short information sessions held throughout the year either during
the lunch hour or after work to educate potential volunteers on the court appointed
69



advocate role and our other volunteer opportunities.
http://www.childadvocates.org/volunteer/court.htm
Monthly e-letter to all volunteers, staff and board members – includes events coming up
in following 45-day period, note from CEO, update on organizational goals
Personal contact – notes from CEO, staff members, board members to volunteers and
donors; notes from volunteers to donors; random telephone thank you’s for donations big
or small
Board committees – active committees of board members for key areas of organization
(program, development, finance, IT, marketing/recruitment, training/retention)
How did you get involved with CASA? What was your awareness level? What was interesting
that pulled you in? How did you get involved or why did you choose CASA?
I found out about the job through traditional (posted) channels and applied based on the level of
marketing experience involved.
How would you describe CASA if it were a person?
CASA is an extra pair of eyes and ears for the family court judge who ultimately has to make a
permanent placement decision for a child.
What do you think people respond best to for CASA?
The faces of children. The opportunity to make a difference for children. The need for volunteers.
Do you have advocates to spread world of mouth?
In 2009, Child Advocates, Inc. assigned 699 volunteers to the cases of children through our
program. Hopefully all of those volunteers have been given the information necessary and the
opportunity to spread the word about the work they do and the needs of our program in their
personal and professional lives.
Do you have someone who is a full time employee searching for volunteers and sponsorships?
Yes. We have one marketing staff, two recruitment/training/retention staff and five development
staff. This is in addition to our program staff who manage and supervise the volunteers.
Do you have an intern?
We have an intern each summer – college student.
How is your business structured?
We have one CEO, she has six direct reports (Program, Development, Operations,
Recruitment/Training/Retention, Special Projects and Marketing). Our Program team is broken
down further into four Team Leaders who report to the Program Director, each managing 4-6
Advocacy Coordinators.
Board structured?
70
Total BOD = 38 members. Board chair, Board chair elect plus 8 committee heads = executive
committee. http://www.childadvocates.org/board.htm
IDI Interview via Email: Tuesdi Dyer, Director of Development CASA of St. Petersburg Florida Wed,
Jan 27, 2010
Short IDI but a good example of how to NOT brand CASA. As did I, many people confuse CASA-St
Pete with the national CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates); however, they are a St.
Petersburg shelter for abused women.
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Endnotes
Situation Analysis
1
2
National CASA Website 2010; www.casaforchildren.org
Jackson County CASA brochure, 2010
Evidence of CASA’s effectiveness
3“
Evidence of Effectiveness”: 2006, the US Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
Financial Snapshot
4
What are Adequate Nonprofit Reserves for Financial Stability? “It Depends”; a White Paper by Nonprofit Reserves
Workgroup; September 2008
5
National Center for Charitable Statistics - Wiki Wikipedia.org;
http://www.nccs2.org/wiki/index.php?title=Nonprofit_Reserves_Workgroup
Environmental Issues
6
“Recession takes toll on charitable giving.” MSNBC. 10 June 2009. Available online:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31193687/ns/us_news-giving/#storyContinued
7
“The 2009 Kansas City Nonprofit Sector At a Glance Report”; The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership. 2009.
http://bloch.umkc.edu/mwcnl/research/2009%20KC%20NP%20Sector%20Rpt.pdf
8
The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Giving in Kansas City. Data: FoundationSearch.com, Foundation
Center, and Guidestar.org; 2008; Available online: http://www.kauffman.org/uploadedFiles/giving_in_kc.pdf
Digital Evolution
10
Hrywna, Mark. “Social Networks are Red Hot, Web Sites are Diddlysquat.” The Non-Profit Times. 4 May 2009.
Available online: http://www.nptimes.com/09May/news-090504-1.html
11
Jun, Catherine. “Charities tweet on social media.” The Detroit News. 28 December 2009. Available online:
http://www.detnews.com/article/20091228/BIZ04/912280323/1409/METRO
12
Rosen-Molina, Mike. “How Charities Harness Social Media to Raise Awareness, Money.” PBS.org. 28 April 2009.
Available online: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2009/04/how-charities-harness-social-media-to-raise-awarenessmoney118.html
13
Measuring Word of Mouth Online; Six Key Considerations:
http://www.foreseeresults.com/_downloads/whitepaper/WordofMouth_BestPractices.pdf
Social and Cultural
14
15
National CASA Connections Magazine; Stigmatization of Foster Youth; Spring 2009
Henline, Robert. “Trends in Modern Volunteerism.” The Promethean Group, LLC. 6 May 2009.
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16
Stadum, Scott. “The Changing Face of Volunteerism.” Idealist.org. 9 July 2009. Available online:
http://www.idealist.org/if/i/en/h/blog/the-changing-face-of-volunteerism
17
Laine, Burton. “Volunteering: New Life in the Second Half.” The Senior Reporter. June 2008.
Research
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Denise Conway; In depth phone interview: Austin, TX, CASA board and National CASA board
Dena Miller, In depth interview: Marketing Manager for Child Advocates of Texas in Houston
Allen Slater; Johnson County District Court Judge; In depth interview phone Interview; February 18, 2010
Thomas Kelly Ryan; Johnson County District Court Judge; In-depth email interview; March 2, 2010
Kathleen Sloan; Johnson County District Court Judge In-depth phone interview; February 23, 2010
Thomas E. Foster; Chief Judge; Johnson County District Court; In-depth email interview; February 20, 2010
Daniel Cahill; Wyandotte County District Court Judge; In-depth email interview; February 23, 2010
Recommendations
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27
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http://safehome-ks.org
www.bigbrothersbigsisterskc.org
Charity:water.org
www.sunflowerhouse.org
www.texascasa.org
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