CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers are trained to work in the state’s foster care system and assigned by a judge to speak up for a child’s best interests in court. As a statewide organization, Texas CASA has 72 local CASA program affiliates that recruit and train volunteers. Texas CASA supports these CASA affiliates by advocating for effective public policy, providing funding, training and technical assistance to program staff, board and volunteers. Becoming a Texas CASA volunteer is a commitment. Hours of training, meeting with your CASA kids, writing reports for the court and having the mental and emotional fortitude to advocate for a child can be perceived as a heavy lift as a volunteer. Many of the CASA volunteers are older, retired and white. So that volunteers can better reflect the children they represent, Texas CASA set forth a campaign to recruit a younger and more diverse demographic of volunteers, especially volunteers of color and those who identify as LGBTQ+ in order to better sustain their organization’s mission.
GDC’s challenge was to reinvigorate and position the Texas CASA brand as a voice making a real difference at a critical turning point in the child’s life and to begin to attract and acquire qualified CASA volunteers representing a more diverse population.
GDC conducted focus groups within four diverse communities –San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso and Lubbock– to better understand and gauge the awareness of CASA with special emphasis on Hispanic and African American men and women over 35 years old. Through this, we learned the awareness of CASA was minimal and there was confusion over CASA’s mission. As a result, GDC performed MirrorBranding™ with key stakeholders from Texas CASA to gain an understanding of how people feel about the mission, connecting with people emotionally and making them an integral part of the brand story.
With the brand foundation established, GDC designed a strong brand identity and brand standards for the organization and began to apply it to a statewide volunteer recruitment campaign under the campaign positioning, “Every child has a chance — it’s you.” The campaign consisted of television and broadcast radio commercials, billboard ads, streaming radio and targeted digital marketing efforts.
Repositioning Texas CASA in the marketplace and building brand awareness through traditional media with a strong call to action in digital and media has paid off in a powerful way for Texas CASA by exceeding their recruitment goals for the last three years. Through a micro-targeted approach, GDC has successfully taken the cost-per-application from $500 an app to less than $100 across all digital channels. Additionally, through optimizing, GDC has been able to lower the cost-per-application leads through Facebook and YouTube as low as $15 an application.
Leveraging additional research, insights and analytics from the digital placement, GDC has diversified the volunteer based on Texas CASA to bring more women, people of color and younger audiences into the program. Plus, we continue to test and learn new strategies through careful tracking and monthly analytics to ensure return on investment and return on intent.