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Is Team Rubicon a Household Name?

How Earned Media and Donated Airtime Helped Introduce Our Mission to America

There was a time when a loved one or four would text me, “I saw Rubicon on my way to work today!” when in reality, he or she was just sharing the highway with a Jeep Rubicon. I’d write back, “Solid choice of automobile, but not affiliated with the disaster response organization I work for. Check out TeamRubiconUSA.org. xoxo.”

Today, Team Rubicon is entering eight years of service as a 501(c)(3). More than 70,000 volunteers are registered, and over 200 disaster-stricken communities have experienced our impact firsthand. And thanks to some high-profile airtime and media coverage in the wake of recent hurricanes, America is growing more and more fond of grey.

If you tuned into postseason baseball at all this year, you likely heard of Team Rubicon. Fans glued to this season’s epic playoff and World Series games saw TV and web ads for T-Mobile’s #HR4HR (homeruns for hurricane relief) campaign, where the company pledged to donate $1 (later $2) for every hashtagged tweet and $10,000 (later $20,000) for each postseason homerun to fund our disaster response operations. In total, T-Mobile kicked back $2.76 million to TR. That cash is fueling the work of thousands of Greyshirts across the country.

Furthermore, baseball fans saw compelling :30 and :60 TV ads highlighting our work in Texas, courtesy of T-Mobile and Fox Networks. And I’m now receiving texts like, “Team Rubicon is everywhere!” and “How can I help those in Texas/Florida/Puerto Rico?”

 

Over Veterans Day weekend, USAA sponsored cobranded TV advertisements, showcasing their commitment to Team Rubicon and the greater veteran community. Ads ran across several Fox Networks channels during college and NFL Football as well as the National Geographic Channel from Nov. 10-12.

All of this extremely valuable airtime was purchased or donated by the corporate partners mentioned above. For Team Rubicon, it brought an unprecedented amount of exposure for this young organization, our mission, and the work of our volunteers. We’re beyond grateful.

An old marketing adage will tell you someone needs to see or hear a brand’s message at least seven times before they take action. In the last three months, Team Rubicon was mentioned 12,653 times in the media (compared to 1,215 in the previous three-month period), and the ad equivalency of those earned impressions is valued at $86 million (check out our interactive media coverage report from the last 90 days). If we’re not yet a household name where you live, we’re working on it.

Here’s a glimpse of media coverage paired with traffic to our website and third-party fundraising site.

 

Why does all this exposure matter? Our team is built to serve, but the two fundamental things that determine how much impact Team Rubicon can deliver are volunteers and financial resources. And as much as we’ve been able to accomplish since 2010, there are still more unmet needs across the country and around the world. The more volunteers and supporters we recruit and engage, the better we can serve even more communities in times of need. Furthermore, continued service through Team Rubicon just might be the kind of purpose more veterans are seeking after transitioning from the military. And building the TR brand into a household name increases our ability to raise donations from the public when disasters strike.

We introduce ourselves to residents when they’re most vulnerable – immediately after a flood, hurricane, tornado, or wildfire, where homes are left in various interpretations of “livable.” If we can establish trust and familiarity in communities before disaster strikes, we can move even more rapidly to the work of providing response and recovery services.

So whether you heard about Team Rubicon shortly after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 or recently sleuthed our website for the first time during an extra-inning MLB barnburner, thanks for tuning in. We’d appreciate it if you told our story to someone new today.

Bobbi Snethen

Bobbi serves on Team Rubicon's communications team. She hails from Madison, WI, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she studied journalism and strategic communication. Following a stint as a freelance reporter, she served as a public relations professional in the nonprofit sector working to enhance community service through storytelling and online engagement.