Agency Fuses Star Power With #HELLOHarlemNYC for the Boys & Girls Club

Bridget Kelly (center-left) and Luke James (center-right) at HELLO Harlem event.

Bridget Kelly (center-left) and Luke James (center-right) at HELLO Harlem event.

This article is part of PR News' series of mini-case studies showcasing successful agency/client partnerships.

Even nonprofits with household names like the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem can struggle to break through the noise and clutter of today’s digital world to get the invaluable attention of volunteers and would-be donors.

That’s why the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem tapped 135th Street Agency and its client REVOLT TV to partner with Park to Park, a network of more than 75 local businesses committed to community development in Harlem. Together they launched the HELLO Harlem campaign to raise funding and awareness for music and arts education for the children of Upper Manhattan.

As a community, Harlem represents an essential part of the history of New York City and has been home to some of the most influential artists and musicians of the past century. And in a time where STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education has rightfully risen to prominence, 135th Street and the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem sought to emphasize the importance of creative activities like art and music in the development of a well-rounded education.

To achieve the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem’s goals, the partners developed a series of invitation-only, weekly networking sessions over the summer of 2014 that drew nearly 2,000 total attendees. Each Monday, the events brought together business executives, civic leaders, celebrities, the press and major supporters to share their experiences and hear stories from children about how the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem affected their lives.

The early success of the three-month program drew the attention of music industry juggernaut Sony Music, which provided recording artists Theo Croker, SOMI, Liam Bailey and Nir Felder as entertainment for the events. The company also expressed interest in expanding their role with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harlem. The partners' extensive influencer outreach also drew notable attendees like former Governor of New York David Paterson, model Sidra Smith, recording artist Bridget Kelly, Bravo TV’s Bevy Smith and actor Hisham Tawfiq.

The HELLO Harlem campaign saw coverage in outlets like Reuters, New York Daily News, The Source, BlackEnterprise.com and Harlem Trends, totaling more than 40 million media impressions. Attendees were also encouraged to share their thoughts and photos throughout the series of events under the #HELLOHarlemNYC hashtag, which garnered more than 1 million social impressions on Twitter and Instagram alone.

The 135th Street Agency, Part to Park, REVOLT TV and the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem built what is now the single largest sustained fundraising campaign in the club’s 30-year history, raising more than $50,000 in donations and securing corporate sponsors and partners like Ciroc, Sean John, Harlem Brewing Company and Uptown Magazine. Perhaps most importantly for the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem was the countless requests and inquiries from members of the Upper Manhattan community to volunteer and become part of the club. The partners' work also secured them a 2015 PR News Agency Elite Award for Community Relations.

Follow Mark: @MarkRenfree