This is the story of an extraordinary public-private partnership that has gained attention at the highest levels of the U.S. Department of Interior, the National Parks Service and the White House. And it’s a story of a highly effective, proactive, Web-centered communications program.
The goal of the National Park Service was to fulfill a 50-year-old dream of building a six-mile hiking trail replicating the path members of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery, trekked between Fort Clatsop and the Pacific Ocean during the winter of 1805-1806. Matching funds were needed to complete what would become a lasting legacy of the region's Lewis and Clark bicentennial observance in November 2005.
Working (pro bono) with the engineering firm of David Evans and Associates, CFM created a Web site (www.forttosea.org) that essentially served as an electronic view book supporting the fundraising efforts. The site was conceived as a magazine, with different features posted each month between August 2004 and January 2006. News releases for milestone events, such as major donations or construction benchmarks, were used to drive media and stakeholders to the site.
The communications program helped the project raise $3.2 million in cash and in-kind donations. The Web site won two national awards: PRNews magazine judged it the best Web site in its 2005 Non-Profit PR Awards competition; and the International Association of Business Communicators gave the project a 2006 Gold Quill Award of Excellence.