In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, sought to have Congress pass waivers that would impact major education laws like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If granted by Congress, these waivers will authorize districts and states to relinquish students’ civil rights with learning disabilities.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) knew that waiving these civil rights could cut parents out of the educational process, deny students several months of quality education, and send the message that students with disabilities are “expendable” in times of crisis.
To support this important piece of legislation, NCLD asked Beekeeper Group’s team of communications experts to educate and create awareness around the importance of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Personal stories are one of the most powerful ways to inspire connection and empathy. Because of the pandemic, there was an uptick in social media engagement, especially with video content. Beekeeper’s approach was to put a face to the issue by using first-person video accounts from young adults, students, and parents conveying the importance of IDEA and their civil rights.
The most difficult and important part of this process was capturing different individuals’ personal stories during COVID-19. To get around this issue, Beekeeper Group had individuals submit pre-recorded videos of themselves sharing their reasons behind standing up for IDEA. After receiving nine videos from students and young adults, five videos from parents, Beekeeper reviewed all submitted videos to identify soundbites, key quotes, and possible narrative arcs.
Beekeeper Group recognized that many individuals described how IDEA directly affected their education rights and how these waivers would negatively impact the overall disabilities community.
To provide more background information and give a strong call to action to “Say No to Waivers,” Beekeeper also asked Lindsay Jones, NCLD’s president and CEO, to submit a video. For her submission, Beekeeper Group recorded her video and audio through Zoom. The footage was then edited for key quotes and soundbites. Having NCLD’s president and CEO provided cohesion to the entire video.
In addition to capturing and organizing the video footage, Beekeeper Group also:
- Designed NCLD branded intro and outro graphics with a similar theme to other #MyIDEAmatters social graphics–doing this ensured the videos would remain consistent with the campaign’s overall look and feel
- Designed lower third graphics to attribute names and roles for each advocate
- Identified background music using keywords like “uplifting” and “emotional” to evoke feelings of sentiment, passion, and hope
- Edited selected videos for background noise, color correction, and cleaning up frames
- Combined all elements into four short videos and one long video for use on social media, websites, YouTube, and future NCLD events to garner attention from audiences
- Created a Video Style Guide for NCLD’s internal team to repurpose all video elements using new footage if they choose
The story bank was housed on a YouTube playlist and distributed via a partner toolkit and different NCLD social media accounts.
At the end of April 2020, Sec. of Devos submitted her report, which mentioned she saw “no reason” to waive rights under IDE. At that time, NCLD shared the video content on their social channels and cross-promoting it through their advocates.
- The YouTube playlist of the #MyIDEAMatters videos received 1,200+ views.
- The hashtag generated for this campaign garnered over 310,00 impressions across Twitter.
NCLD successfully reinforced the message that IDEA was powerful in recognizing and implementing the civil rights for students with learning disabilities and attention issues.