Resource Media’s 2017 Impact Report

The smiling staff of Resource Media, brimming with animated energy

Welcome

Welcome to Resource Media’s very first annual report! We’re excited to share our accomplishments—and impact—with our partners, supporters and friends. Many of you may only know us from our work on a single project or issue. With this report, we pull back the curtain to give you a glimpse of the issues and projects we’re most excited about—and share a bit of our journey as an organization. We invite you to scroll through, learn more, and get in touch!

An image featuring a healthy serving of vegetables and leafy greens

Our portfolio spans a spectrum of issues, including social justice, public health, agriculture, global development and social impact.

Letter from our President

2017 marked a year of tremendous change, with a new U.S. president and new threats to a just and sustainable world. At the same time, people gathered in unprecedented numbers to stand up for human rights and make their voices heard. States, counties and cities took up the mantle of leadership shed by the federal government.

Resource Media has been changing as well. We opened our doors 20 years ago with a focus on conservation campaigns. Over time, we realized that conservation causes were stronger when considered within a broader tapestry of issues. Today, our portfolio spans across a spectrum of issues, including social justice, public health, agriculture, global development and social impact. Regardless of the issue, our approach is consistently grounded in these core values, as outlined in our new strategic framework adopted in 2017:

  • We are committed to the “long game” of power and movement building that supports long-term changes in policy and practice.
  • The more we acknowledge and work to dismantle institutional racism in our organization, in our work and in the communities where we live, the more effective we will be in achieving success.
  • Individual policy outcomes are important waystations. But we must measure success by the breadth and reach of the coalitions we support, and the strength of equity and social justice goals in the work we do.
  • No issue or cause exists in a vacuum. The connections between health, justice and sustainability are both strategic and real.

As a result of your support and partnership, we have some great highlights to share with you from 2017. I want to thank each and every one of you for your continued partnership and commitment to our work.

Sincerely,

Scott Miller, President

An image of Resource Media's four-person Equity Team standing together, smiling

Letter from our equity committee

Our organizational commitment to equity is stewarded by a standing Equity Committee that includes staff from throughout the organization. We seek to advance equitable practices and policies within our organization and to spark change with our partners and funders that help dismantle systemic injustices. In 2017, the committee welcomed new members, launched new initiatives and took steps create a more inclusive and diverse workplace. A few other highlights:

  • We launched a pro-bono initiative to provide communications support to organizations working on racial equity and environmental justice issues.
  • We shaped Resource Media’s updated policies, job descriptions and website to include cultural considerations and more inclusive language.
  • We surveyed staff to assess how well we are living up to our equity values.
  • We established ongoing caucuses for both POC and white staff to provide space to openly reflect on culture, provide organizational feedback, strengthen relationships and initiate learning-based trainings.

Moving forward, we will be growing our fellowship program, expanding our pro-bono program and increasing Resource Media’s multicultural communications skills capacity.

Sincerely,

The Equity Committee

Learn More about our Equity Journey

Our Issue Areas

An array of images showing people conveying the diversity of Resource Media's issues; from food to sustainable electricity.

Climate and Clean Energy

Our goal: to facilitate an equitable shift from fossil fuels to clean energy and improved efficiency. We work to alleviate inequities experienced by communities of color and lower-income households. We elevate stories of families, workers, businesses and communities that can resonate and motivate, highlight the costs and risks of continued reliance on fossil energy, and expose dubious activities of fossil energy companies.

Water

Clean, reliable and affordable water is a basic human right, and our work supports that narrative. Underlying our approach is the understanding that people connect most easily to the water they see and use. We work to prevent pollution, support healthy watersheds and strengthen alliances to protect waterways in communities across the United States.

Social Impact

We create strategies to support equitable solutions to an array of long standing challenges. We believe smart communications is a key tool for people working to spark change in the US and abroad. By highlighting stories and successes, we support a narrative of sustained progress towards a more equitable world.

Conservation and Public Lands

We seek to shift the narrative that portrays land conservation as an elite and narrow concern and pits conservation against jobs and economic development. Our research, messaging, content, counsel and capacity-building helps amplify voices from a broader array of urban and rural residents who value land conservation for its multiple benefits.

Food and Agriculture

Food is an essential connector between land, water, health and communities. We work with partners to expose and correct damaging food production practices to make them more just and sustainable. We share stories of the injustices endured by farmworkers, local communities and residents of food deserts, while pushing to make local, sustainable agriculture practices and programs more accessible.

Oceans

Our strategies connect local residents, policymakers and consumers to our oceans, and seek common ground among groups historically at odds, including fishers, conservationists, recreation and tourism businesses. We mobilize support to protect coastal communities by defending public beach access, addressing sea level rise and ocean acidification, preventing offshore drilling, spurring effective coastal management and protecting ecosystem health.

Public Health

We work to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life by building capacity among NGOs and community-based organizations. We develop and implement strategies that influence social norms, strengthen key alliances, and pave the way for better public policies and investments.

The Year in Numbers

Resource Media provides hands-on support across a broad spectrum of interrelated issues. Our impact includes near-term wins, as well as progress towards long-term goals such as shifting social norms, building capacity, strengthening alliances, and securing public and private policies in support of a more just and sustainable world.

We know successes can’t always be directly attributed to our activities and…that’s a good thing! Our strategies require fellow travelers, relationships built on trust, and the ability to jump on key opportunities – even when they weren’t anticipated under a specific grant or contract.

Wondering why we didn’t put media hits right up top? When it comes to media coverage, we believe that quality, focus—and ensuring we’re reaching the right audience—are far more important than quantity. That said, we placed hundreds of stories last year! We’re excited to share some stories about the impacts of that coverage in our highlights.

114
projects provided with messaging and framing

We created messaging to support clean energy transition, new ways for community organizations to champion health equity, and strategic advice for partners working to mobilize audiences in support of clean water and agriculture, among many others.

Spurring U.S. meat companies to clean up their act

Resource Media worked with Mighty Earth to launch a report linking Tyson Foods to widespread, toxic nitrogen pollution in US streams, rivers, lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. The report release aligned with the largest Gulf “dead zone” ever recorded. We connected the shock factor of this unhappy news to a story of agricultural supply chains and American communities in harm’s way. This media moment resulted in coverage in mainstream outlets including The Guardian and National Geographic, and online publications and magazines like Vox, The Weather Channel, Think Progress, and Modern Farmer. Thanks to Mighty Earth and our many partners on the ground, we have already seen movement and new commitments from America’s largest meat companies to clean up their act.

65
trainings conducted with more than 800 participants

We trained people in messaging, storytelling, media relations to support issues including conservation, public health, coastal priorities and clean water.

From “likes” to action on clean water

Think it’s impossible to inspire someone who “likes” your Facebook page to become a full-throated champion of your mission? Think again! Resource Media conducted a day-long training in collaboration with New Jersey Audubon to help groups working in the Delaware Basin, which is under threat by new development, industrial pollution and agricultural runoff. With our custom workshop, we empowered local groups to share stories that lead to action, and optimize social media engagement to build support for restoration and clean water. We shared tips on the use of effective stories, helped workshop new ways to increase interest and enthusiasm among communities, and shared ideas on how to turn casual supporters into committed champions.

110
creative products developed

We created videos, websites, infographics and other materials to support narratives on climate and clean energy, food and agriculture, and clean water.

How do you say “health” in five different languages?

Resource Media partnered with dozens of community groups working to reduce public health disparities in partnership with Public Health – Seattle & King County. We highlighted projects that help reduce health inequities and illustrated how better systems, policies and environments can improve health. Our messaging, stories and multicultural creative content put community leaders front and center and made the case for sustained support for systems approaches to health. In addition to English language materials, Resource Media transcreated creative products for Spanish, Somali, Arabic and Khmer-speaking communities. Local community groups have used these stories, videos and creative materials help tell their stories and make the case for continued funding and support.

41
campaign strategies developed

We developed strategies and plans to support climate solutions and clean energy, conservation, and locally-driven efforts to protect clean water.

Making energy efficiency a trending topic

Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change, clean the air we breathe, support businesses and reduce energy costs for consumers. Yet it’s often the last thing policymakers think of when advancing policy solutions. To raise the profile of energy efficiency, we led the second-annual Energy Efficiency Day on Oct 5, 2017. EE Day is collaborative effort of advocates, companies, utilities, and others working to promote energy efficiency and champion its many benefits for families, companies and our economies. Working closely with leading energy efficiency advocates, we developed a social media campaign, website, toolkit and creative content to spark engagement and visibility online. This resulted in 27.1 million social media impressions, and a Twitter hashtag trend in several U.S. marketplaces. Companies like Walmart and Nest used the hashtag to share their commitments, and 33 proclamations were issued in cities and states throughout the country.

122
partner collaborations

We worked in partnership with nonprofits and community groups around the world. We strengthened relationships across sectors and within communities

Illuminating the hidden human toll of California’s catastrophic wildfires

During the largest fire in the history of California, early media coverage paid scant attention to the devastating impacts experienced by low-income families and communities of color. While many people evacuated high-risk communities like Oxnard, California, because instructions were only provided in English, Spanish-language farm workers and their families were left to brave the smoke and extreme danger on their own. In collaboration with the nonprofit CAUSE, Resource Media kicked into action. We secured media coverage calling on local and state officials to provide emergency response and relief to Spanish-speaking communities in the Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Star, Southern California ABC and Telemundo affiliates, and Al Jazeera. Thanks to this attention, at the start of the 2018 California legislative session, two bills were introduced to give counties the option of automatically enrolling every resident in a location-based emergency notification program, and to require state and county governments to ensure that emergency communications are made available in more than one language. Systemic changes are still needed, but this work has been critical in launching this conversation.

2
image testing reports published

We shared two new image testing reports that provide new insights on effective visual communications for groups working on international family planning and urban sustainability.

Images tell the best stories

What does an inclusive and sustainable city look like? We posed that question to help local groups in the Puget Sound region use visuals more effectively in their work to build more sustainable communities. Our image testing project didn’t explore which images people liked or disliked; instead, we sought to understand the stories or narratives that people gathered from each image. Our findings led to evidence-based image recommendations for local advocates to use in their communications, and informed our development of an open-source image bank of proven-effective images for use by nonprofits and other community groups.

Financials

2017 Revenue: $4,417,467

2017 Expenses: $4,243,282

How to Support our Work

In today’s environment, successful communications campaigns not only to adapt to changing circumstances, but lead the curve of that change. The focused contracts and grants that serve as our lifeblood can sometimes limit our opportunities to build stronger, more resilient campaigns that cross historically-siloed issues like social justice, public health, water and clean energy.

Flexible funding allows us to:


Respond to critical opportunities, spearhead new ideas and tools, support key partnerships and invest in equity

For more information on how to support Resource Media and communications for social change, contact Scott Miller, President or Cristina Friday, Grants Manager at info@resource-media.org