Division B - Printed Tools of Public Relations
Category 14 - Other
Faces of Life book
Don Ruth, Covenant Hospice

Golden Image Award

Research/Situation Analysis: In honor of National Hospice Month, Covenant Hospice wanted to promote the organization’s mission of providing comprehensive, compassionate service to patients and loved ones during times of life limiting illnesses. Covenant Hospice also wanted to share the inspirational stories of their patients, families and volunteers to demonstrate to the public that “it’s not about how you die, but how you live,” while promoting living life to the fullest, even at the end of life. Covenant Hospice also wanted to raise funds for its special programs, which include bereavement services, chaplain services, children’s support services and volunteer services. In addition to the special programs, Covenant Hospice also wanted to raise funds to support indigent care, allowing the organization to continue to admit patients based on need and not the ability to pay. In 2006, Covenant Hospice spent over 1.1 million dollars on indigent care.

Objectives: The objectives of the Faces of Life book were 1.) To increase the amount of media coverage by 10% for Covenant Hospice during the month of November 2006 as compared to the previous year. 2.) To pre-sell 200 copies of the Faces of Life book by Nov. 30, which is National Hospice Month.

Implementation: Covenant Hospice secured the services of Ballinger Publishing in Pensacola, Florida to edit and publish a 96-page hardcover book containing inspirational stories accompanied by beautiful black and white photographs. The Covenant Hospice staff began by collecting stories from patients, families and volunteers throughout its 35 county service area by setting up an easy to report story system. Covenant Hospice staff, volunteers and family members could submit their story via an 800 telephone number, fax, email, or the Covenant website. Faces of Life Committee Members were established in each region to cultivate and encourage story sharing. Eight area professional photographers were also solicited to donate their time and talent to the book project, thus helping to keep the project cost effective for the non-profit organization. Over 125 stories were collected for the Faces of Life project, and the editors at Ballinger Publishing were tasked to choose the best 42 stories for inclusion in the book. The Covenant Hospice Development/Communications staff began soliciting sponsorships and media coverage for the Faces of Life book and also began a push for book pre-sales. A competition was created amongst the Covenant Hospice branch office staff to see which branch could submit the most stories. A flyer was also sent to local businesses encouraging them to purchase the books as a holiday gift for their clients. A press release was also submitted to the media in each region promoting the book and pre-sales.

Evaluation: Covenant Hospice was able to exceed its objectives by 1.) increasing media coverage for the Faces of Life book and National Hospice Month by 292% over the previous November increasing clippings from 12 to 47. Not only did the organization see an increase in quantity of media, but also the quality. Several large newspapers in the area ran full, front page stories on the Faces of Life book and helped to promote National Hospice Month and “living life to the fullest, even at the end of life.” Covenant Hospice even received book requests from national publications including Health Magazine and Ladies Home Journal and producers from the Oprah Winfrey Show. 2.) Covenant Hospice also exceeded its pre-sale objectives by receiving over 394 pre-sales of the Faces of Life book by Nov. 30.

Budget: The cost of publishing the Faces of Life book was $50,000. However, the Covenant Hospice Development department solicited and received a $25,000 book sponsorship from healthcare professional, author and speaker Quint Studer, along with $6,500 in “legacy gifts” from various bereaved family members and $6,055 from general Covenant Hospice supporters. In addition to sponsorships, Covenant Hospice also received $11,827 in book pre-sales, thus allowing the non-profit organization to apply all book proceeds to benefit its unfunded and under-funded special programs.