Lighthouse for the Blind, and specifically Lighthouse Louisiana, has dedicated 57 years to empowering the blind and visually impaired by providing the tools necessary to be independent and self-sufficient through employment. Until recently, the Federal Government had been the biggest customer for the products manufactured in Lighthouse Louisiana facilities, stemming from a little known program called AbilityOne.
To this day AbilityOne is a shining example of smart government in action and the reason for Lighthouse Louisiana’s ability to fund competitive employment for the blind. However, the consequences were devastating when an inexplicable shift in government procurement laws forced Lighthouse Louisiana to lay off many of their blind and visually impaired employees, many of whom had dedicated their lives to servicing the brave men and women of our armed forces.
Now, they were out of work and could no longer provide for their families.
Lighthouse Louisiana called upon BMF at the most critical time to ensure the story received the national attention it deserved. BMF set a plan into action with the goal of bringing attention to the issue and putting Americans with disabilities back to work - a population that represents the most underemployed sector of our workforce, as nearly 70% of blind people in the United States are unemployed.
Efforts at a diplomatic solution, which included the efforts of two U.S. Senators, were unsuccessful. Finding an interested and credible member of the press was step two.
On Thursday, October 9, 2014 the headline on the front page of the Washington Times read “Exclusive: Feds take jobs from disabled Americans, send them to Central Asia”.
Once the story ran in print, BMF executed a social media strategy designed to attract the attention of local and national media personalities. The goal was to ensure the story reached the most influencers as possible to keep the story alive.
"The successful strategy received extensive local and national coverage, and garnered the attention and action of influential national political leaders, resulting in more than 100,000 hits for the story on Google in less than 24 hours."
Drudge Report, Fox News Nation, the Jerry Doyle Show and reddit were just a few of the national influencers to post the story on their respective social media platforms. Combined with over 6,000 shares generated from the original article on The Washington Times website, BMF was able to successfully spark a nationwide conversation about an issue crucial to not only the success of Lighthouse for the Blind, but the country as a whole.
By utilizing Lighthouse’s existing social media presence, relationships with influencers, stakeholders, community leaders, and partner agencies nationwide as part of a comprehensive strategy, BMF was able to secure maximum media and social media coverage of the story and bring national attention to such an important issue for Lighthouse Louisiana and employees at over 600 AbilityOne agencies with disabilities across America.