— Lyn Stoesen, News Staff
NASW's National Social Work Public Education Campaign is moving forward in 2008, with plans to expand the reach of the new video "On Any Given Day, Social Workers Help," extend the use of print advertising materials and reach out to a broader array of journalists to encourage coverage of the value of social workers.
The association has also continued to broaden the scope of materials offered on NASW's consumer Website, Help Starts Here, and has recently distributed campaign materials to schools of social work across the country.
The professionally produced five-minute video "Any Given Day" was created to highlight the many ways in which social workers help people. It profiles three social workers employed in diverse fields of the profession in different parts of the country. The video was designed to be aired in a variety of settings, with a broad message that NASW believes will resonate with many people, not just social workers.
"This year we will be distributing the video widely," said NASW Public Relations Manager Allison Nadelhaft. "One of our audiences will be students and others who are considering joining the profession; to that end, we will reach out to schools and universities to offer these materials."
The video as well as a packet with information on communication planning, development, the advertising strategy and other materials was recently distributed to schools of social work across the country. The materials can be used to promote social work on campuses.
"We are grateful to the 90 schools and departments of social work who are already participating in the campaign," NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark wrote in a letter to social work educators. "We look forward to working with you in 2008 to educate the public about the irreplaceable benefits of professional social work."
The public education campaign, which launched in March 2005, is a multi-year effort to build awareness of social work as an essential helping profession. Since it launched, the campaign has included the debut of the consumer Website; the placement of print advertisements in publications across the country, including Oprah Winfrey's O magazine; the distribution of thousands of professional social worker lapel pins; and the distribution of "Help Starts Here" postage stamps.
Through the campaign, NASW has also partnered with experts to conduct surveys and research on social workers and their clients to help the public better understand the profession's work. Data from a second survey on "sandwich generation" women and their experiences will be released in the next few months.
The campaign is also integrated into NASW's Social Work Reinvestment Initiative, which is aimed at unifying and advancing the profession through legislative and policy efforts. The public education campaign offers materials and outreach messages for people involved in public policy, employers and others.
"The campaign continues to move forward," Nadelhaft said. "This is a multi-year project, and our goals are far-reaching. We now have a strong and growing collection of materials that can help us reach the public through many venues and we will continue to strategically and actively promote this campaign."