Expanding Outreach

As a non profit organization specializing in providing events for members of the New York City Community, New York Road Runners relies on government funding, among other forms of donations, to ensure that we continue to provide our services. NYRR has programs and events for all types of people, ranging from youth in the community and senior citizens to some of the world’s best athletes. The youth programs have been thriving, receiving sufficient government funding as well as internal and external media coverage. Our big races such as the marathon and others also receive a large amount of media coverage. NYRR Striders, the senior citizens walking program for which I am interning, is searching for a way to increase our government funding. Throughout my brief time with the organization, I have noticed that Striders does not get nearly enough attention within the organization’s marketing campaigns. Back in June, we conducted a sneaker distribution, during which we gave free New Balance running sneakers to the members of a senior center in Far Rockaway, Queens. This event was covered by our media team and it seemed to be extremely well received by the community. In order to receive sufficient government funding, Striders must to become an Evidence Based Program, which requires research conducted by the National Council for Aging to prove that the program’s outreach is wide enough and provides benefits to the community.

The first and most important step to becoming an Evidence Based Program is to have a sit down meeting with one of the government officials who help make these decisions. However, because of the Striders’ lack of media coverage, most people associate us with the marathon and are unaware of how many people actually benefit from the Striders program. In 2018, we had over 1,500 active members and we are on pace to exceed that number in 2019. In preparation for a quarterly update presentation to the CEO, I suggested to my supervisor that we increase our marketing and work to get our name and mission into the public eye. I mentioned that we need people to know about the good which we are doing. The youth programs get the recognition they deserve, and Striders deserves that same amount of coverage.  My supervisors agreed with my suggestions and one of the main points made during our meeting with the CEO was the expansion of our marketing campaign. We are currently working on a Striders billboard and are planning to have members of the youth programs team deliver Striders flyers and postcards to areas with potential members.