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Fostering New Beginnings: A Case Study
Samantha Rumberger

Harris Greenaway (HGC) is a full-service communications agency offering a unique, specialized set of skills and experience in strategic communications, public relations, public affairs and marketing.  Our strength lies in helping clients manage complex issues while protecting and advancing reputations with governments, media, stakeholders and the public.  So what does that mean to potential clients?  How and why can you benefit from our services?

We offer a brief case study to demonstrate.

The Client

In August of 2016, HGC was approached by the Saskatchewan Foster Families Association (SFFA). They are a non-profit, community-based organization located in Saskatoon with offices throughout Saskatchewan. The SFFA operates as an arm’s length agency with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services. Together with the Ministry, the SFFA supports foster parents through education and advocacy to create healthy homes and brighter futures for children and youth in care.

The Issue

Like most provinces, Saskatchewan has seen a decline in the number of foster homes.  In fact, over the past four years, the number of homes has decreased 35%.  The two main reasons for this are fewer households with one stay-at-home parent, as well as aging foster parents seeking retirement. 

The SFFA came to HGC with two goals in mind:  First, to raise awareness about the need for more foster families and homes in Saskatchewan.  Second, to highlight the need for more homes to take in young children aged newborn to three years old.  While the overarching measurement of success for the campaign was the number of new referrals, another goal was to have the campaign build public awareness over time. 

The Solution

Working with the SFFA, HGC developed a multi-faceted six-month awareness and recruitment campaign strategy. The first part of the plan, Foster New Beginnings, included a targeted regional awareness campaign.  HGC sought opportunities to piggyback on relevant government events and initiatives including National Foster Family Week.  HGC also worked with Amplify Digital Marketing Corporation, which handles all aspects of SFFA's online social media advertisement and marketing.

Key to the Foster New Beginnings campaign was the slogan, a call to action and the design elements supporting it.  The slogan, Foster New Beginnings, highlighted both the fostering element of the campaign, as well as the need for families to take in young children and newborns.  HGC developed imagery to accompany this.  We chose an infant hand linked with that of an adult.  The accompanying messaging tied the imagery and SFFA goals together with a call to action.


Babies and toddlers need a stable, loving home to give them the best start in life. Unfortunately, there are very young children in our province who are in need of care and not enough foster families to meet the need.  

As a result, babies in care may be placed in group care or other facilities. You could help give a child a better start in life until they can be reunited with their family. Please consider becoming a foster parent today. Families helping families in need - that’s what the foster family program in Saskatchewan is all about.

Call to Action

Offer a helping hand.

The Campaign

The first regional target was Yorkton, SK. HGC and SFFA launched the campaign in September.  We employed earned media (including arrangement of media interviews), distribution of marketing materials (designed by HGC) to our target demographics via local organizations and businesses, outdoor, print ads and digital media including targeted social media ads.  HGC and the SFFA repeated this campaign in Swift Current and surrounding areas the following month and are prepping for two more regional launches in the new year.

The Results

  • After the launch of the Yorkton campaign, the SFFA’s referrals jumped from an average of one per week to seven and 26 new foster families are now being processed.
    • While some of those may not be ultimately approved, the numbers speak for themselves.

Social Media 

  • The SFFA benefitted from a large number of shares, likes, tweets and retweets, including one from Premier Brad Wall. This is a significant impression.  Premier Wall’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have over 170,000 combined followers.
    • HGC provided SFFA materials for use on government social media. 
  • In three days, November 16th-18th, over 3100 people watched one of SFFA’s recruitment videos. That doesn’t include other benefits of social media including likes, shares and overall clicks or impressions.

The Media

Due to the heightened profile of the SFFA and our awareness campaign, every major media outlet was in attendance at a recent government announcement by the Ministry of Social Services and SFFA.

  • Media coverage of this event resulted in 24 calls within 24 hours to the SFFA from people interested in becoming foster parents and the Foster New Beginnings campaign was highlighted throughout the entire province.

The Bottom Line

HGC was able to help the SFFA achieve their goals, develop and strengthen their brand and image in Saskatchewan.  Through news events, radio interviews, TV news coverage, online advertising, posters, outdoor and direct mail, a positive, recognizable brand for the Saskatchewan Foster Families Association has been established.  Not only are people hearing about the need, but they are also being educated about what it means to become a foster parent or family through the repeated exposure to the campaigns and materials.