Public education and outreach campaigns can be fun and incredibly effective ways to advance policy goals. Widespread public engagement is often necessary to motivate decision makers to take specific actions or accept policy recommendations. While many organizations have some outreach capacity, few organizations have the expertise or resources to design, implement and evaluate a full-scale, multifaceted communications campaign.

By understanding audience needs and values, where they get information and who they trust, Bluestem Communications builds education and outreach campaigns that meet people where they are. Through educational brochures and fact sheets, promotional brochures and gifts, and interactive displays and websites, we inspire citizen passion for environmental causes and motivate them to action.

Mississippi River Network — 1 Mississippi  campaign

Bluestem Communications coordinates and facilitates the communications efforts of the Mississippi River Network: Headwaters to Gulf (MRN), a network of almost 50 organizations dedicated to protecting and restoring America’s greatest river.

After conducting public opinion research to assess public perceptions and attitudes regarding the Mississippi River, Bluestem Communications worked with Network members to develop a communications strategy that would reflect the needs and values of the target audience and move the Network toward their specific restoration goals. Officially launched in summer 2009, the Network’s regional campaign—1 Mississippi: Can the River Count on You?—inspires citizens to take actions to restore and protect the Mississippi River and the Gulf.

“As one of the lead organizations among now almost 50 nonprofits attempting to build a network of diverse groups but with one strong voice, I am impressed with two qualities that Bluestem Communications brought to our work; passion for the cause and a sense of service to the clients. The people at Bluestem Communications energized us with their passion but always maintained a sense of service to the Network. That is a fine balance to achieve, but they did it very well. It has been a pleasure to work with them.”
—Dan McGuiness, National Audubon Society

“Bluestem Communications provides us with excellent professional environmental communications services and staffing. Bluestem Communications’s guidance and expertise has been invaluable as we work to tell the story of America ‘s greatest river with renewed passion.”
—Teri Goodmann, Director of National Advancement, National Mississippi River
Museum & Aquarium

Rock River Stormwater Group — Clean water. Bright future.  campaign

The Rock River Stormwater Group and the Clean water. Bright future. campaign were created to fulfill the Wisconsin State and Federal Clean Water laws. Bluestem Communications was hired in 2009 to fulfill the state and federal requirements, while using our best communications practices and outreach strategies. Tackling stormwater is like battling a multi-headed hydra. Because rain falls on all businesses, homes and land throughout the entire region, stormwater pollution also comes from a wide variety of sources–from a family’s back yard to concrete trucks. We created a variety of outreach strategies with a uniform message of how small changes in the home, work and community can help protect the local waters that people use to fish, swim and enjoy year round.

To ensure the right people were receiving specific information that could lead to behavior change, the Group identified the most common problems that lead to stormwater pollution, then narrowed these problems by audiences. For example, we targeted fall leaves as a single issue, focusing on homeowners in the urbanized regions. We used multiple outreach strategies to help this audience hear the message multiple times, including newspaper articles, municipal publications, reminders and ads placed in local church bulletins and flyers delivered directly to targeted homes. We’ve reached other audiences through this campaign, including concrete truck operators, garden clubs, college students, municipal utilities staff members, elected officials and municipal staff.