Lead Through Christ An communications campaign to bring awareness of Chi Alpha Christian organization to Savannah State University students.

Campaign Overview

The purpose of this research is to gather information on why Savannah State University students are not joining Chi Alpha, a Christian organization, or are involved in campus ministries. Chi Alpha is a nationwide campus ministry organization. The Savannah State University chapter was founded in 2012 apart of The Seed Church in Savannah, GA. Chi Alpha’s mission is to reconcile students to Christ, equipping them through spirit-filled communities of prayer, worship, fellowship, discipleship, and mission to transform the university, the marketplace and the world. They meet regularly every Tuesday at 5 p.m. for bible study in the Howard Jordan Torian Auditorium. The target audience is all Savannah State Students who have or have not heard of Chi Alpha. Through primary and secondary research Greenwill Communications Group was able to gain much knowledge regarding the lack of students on Savannah State University campus whom are not joining the Chi Alpha organization. By meeting with the leader of Chi Alpha, Daniel Gardner, and the minister, Tina Williams, Greenwill Communications Group gathered that Chi Alpha is neglecting the use of social media outlets which can increase awareness of the organization. According to John Fortunato (2016), the agenda setting has been altered considerably since its early research studies by the technology that allows individuals and organizations to use social media to communicate directly to an audience. Word of mouth is how Chi Alpha usually persuades students to join their organization, but the leaders of the organization believes more social media post can increase their membership. Greenwill Communications Group will conduct a survey and the results will be display how many students of Savannah State University are aware of Chi Alpha, and also what tactics will make students join Chi Alpha. By constructing a relationship with the leader of Chi Alpha, Greenwill Communications Group will be able to do extensive research in helping the organization reach their full potential amongst all Savannah State University students whom are interested in becoming a member. The background research conducted will focus on the importance of the issue which is why students are or are not involved in Christian organization on college campuses.

Background Research

The reasoning behind this research is to gather information on why college students do not join Christian organizations or are not interested in campus ministries at Savannah State University. Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship organization is one of the many established organizations on Savannah State campus. According to Chi Alpha (2017), there are over 28,000 students who are apart of Chi Alpha on over 312 campuses in the United States since 2014. As of today Savannah State University have nine members of their Chi Alpha chapter on campus. While enrolled, college students have the option of practicing different religions that their household back at home does not practice. “The college experience, particularly at the better colleges, stimulates free inquiry, encourages the questioning of dogma, and undermines the force of tradition and authority.”(Caplovitz & Sherrow 1977:127) With students being away from home it gives them the ability to choose whether they want to go to church or not, since they are away from parents or any authority figure.

Some students may not associate with any religion while others practice another religion other than Christianity. “In 1971, the first year that UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute published its survey, 16 percent of freshman said they did not subscribe to a particular religion. This years study included responses from 153,000 freshman at 227 schools nationwide. (Kavanaugh, 2015) The study was conducted from 1971 to 2014 and every year the percentage increases for how many freshman that has no religious preference, and as of 2014 it has elevated to 27%. (HERI, 2014) The traditional freshman is between the ages of 17 and 19 whom has recently graduated high school but with the increase of freshman not having any beliefs in a religion what does that do for Chi Alpha? It becomes more complex to gather individuals who have a passion for joining a Christian organization

Savannah State University is the oldest public historically black college with an outstanding percentage of African American students over any other race currently enrolled. 83% of the student body at Savannah State University are African American. (College Board, 2017) In a survey conducted by the Pew Research (2007), U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, African Americans are more religious as a race than all of Americans with 87% of Africans Americans are religious while only 83% of Americans are religious. With Savannah State having such a large number of African American students how is it that many does not participate in the campus ministries, or join the Chi Alpha chapter? In a journal written by Walter Chivers (1940), he mentions, “The school has a definite responsibility in this matter for a positive Christianity is essential to an ideal life in a democratic country.” Chivers supports the idea about historically black colleges and how by being involved in Christianity causes students to function better. To further explore, a small percentage of Savannah State University students completed a questionnaire regarding the Christian organization, Chi Alpha.

Methodology

The objective of this research is to explore, inform, and bring awareness to the Chi Alpha chapter to all Savannah State University students. The secondary research was used to gather additional knowledge on college students and their lack of joining a Christian organization and understand their religious beliefs. The primary research was conducted in a survey on Savannah State campus to 54 students. The questionnaire was given to non-random students of both genders and all classifications from the ages of 18 as the youngest to 24 and older. Approximately, 36 female and 18 male students completed the survey. 85.2% of the students to participate in the survey were African American, and 14.8% of the students identified with different races. The 27 question survey started on January 25th at 12:30 p.m. The link for the survey was distributed via emails, GroupMe chats, and through text messages. The survey was also sent to a few Savannah State students via social media from Snapchat and Twitter. One of the members of Greenwill Communications Group also distributed the survey to a class of biology students at Savannah State University.

Before beginning the survey there was a consent form all students had to answer informing them on the purpose of the project but also mentioning how if one does not feel comfortable and wants to withdraw from the survey it is understood. The survey consisted of questions relating to what Savannah State students will want to see from Chi Alpha and whether or not they will join the organization. There were questions referring to students religion and whether or not they see view their self as a Christian. The survey took approximately 5 minutes to complete and was asked to be sent to other Savannah State students when finished.

Findings

After gathering the primary research, results show many different causes behind Chi Alpha small amount of members and why their presence around campus is non-existent. When studying the interest of campus ministries on the college campus many different reasons were found. GreenWill Communications Group surveyed students to find possible reasons as to why Chi Alpha’s awareness and attendance is low. Analyzing the data through IBM SPSS Statistics, we found that 59.3% of the participants in the survey never heard of Chi Alpha with another 7.4% unsure if they have.

A major reason in the lack of awareness can be contributed to Chi Alpha’s lack of social media use and presence as well as the lack of flyers and signage around the Savannah State University campus. Among the participants in the survey, 64.8% of the students surveyed said they would be encouraged to join an organization with a social media presence. Also, 66.7% of the students surveyed would be encouraged to join an organization with flyers and signage around campus.

A finding that can be discouraging is that 77.8% of the survey participants are not involved with a campus ministry organization. Although some students nationwide may not have a religion, 79.6% of students to participate in our survey considered themselves to be a Christian. While 80% of freshmen survey participants consider to be Christians as well.

Within the findings, 85.2% of the students surveyed identified as being African American. This finding can be the reasoning behind the high percentage in those who identify as Christians. As discovered in the secondary research, African Americans are more religious as a race than all of Americans with 87% of Africans Americans are religious while only 83% of Americans are religious as conducted by the Pew Research (2007), U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Even 83.3% of students surveyed believe that students can benefit from a campus ministry organization. These findings insight encouragement for the growth of Chi Alpha’s organization on Savannah State University’s campus although most students are not involved in a campus ministry organization as of yet.

Plan

Campaign Goal:

The overall purpose of this campaign is to bring awareness to Chi Alpha’s Christian organization to all Savannah State University. With planning a communications campaign, GreenWill Communications Group will build interpersonal relationships between members of Chi Alpha and Savannah State University students.

Target Audience

Savannah State University students

Objectives:

1. To decrease that percentage of Savannah State University students who are not enrolled into Chi Alpha Christian organization by 17%, GreenWill Communication Group will encourage more students to become a part of Chi Alpha’s campus ministries.

2. To increase awareness of Chi Alpha’s presence on Savannah State University campus by 25% by the end of April 2017.

Key Messages

Lead With a Purpose

Succeed Through Christ

We Are Purposely Driven

Key Themes

The theme for this campaign will be “Chi Alpha: Purposely Driven.” Every time the the theme is present in print or on social media, Chi Alpha’s logo will be adjacent to provide the connection between Savannah State University Chi Alpha’s theme to their logo and image.

Channels and Strategies

Media Channels:​

​A news release, video commercial, and web advertisement will be produced to include in this campaign. According to primary research, 66.7% of survey participants would join an organization if there were advertisements posted around Savannah State University campus.

Non- Media Channels​:​

By increasing the membership of Chi Alpha, there will be door hangers and brochures produced as well as different social activities such as dorm storming to increase awareness, and also weekly bible studies will be included in this campaign to build that interpersonal relationship between future and current Chi Alpha Members members. 13% of survey participants answered “No” to wanting to join an organization, but by executing these different social activities that number can change.

Interactive Media Channels​:

​GreenWill Communications Group will produce ​social media channels, a news kit, and digital/print flyers to help recruit students to join Chi Alpha. A 30 second commercial will be produced Through primary research, GreenWill Communications Group discovered Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter were the most used social media platforms; so by utilizing these different channels, Chi Alpha will grow in membership.

Social Media Plan

Social Media Selected:

Facebook​:

The purpose of using this social media outlet will be to inform the public/target audience about Savannah State University’s Chi Alpha and what the organization’s mission is on Savannah State University’s campus. The main use of Facebook will be to post weekly updates, announce meeting times, and to give weekly devotionals/encouragement. The video commercial about membership for Chi Alpha will be posted on Facebook as well. Facebook will be the primary social media outlet to receive feedback from followers.

Snapchat:​

The purpose for using Snapchat is to bring awareness of the ongoing events Savannah State University’s Chi Alpha will be in charge of. Snapchat will be used to showcase the weekly Bible studies and other activities of Chi Alpha. Different Snapchat filters can be made around campus on days Chi Alpha have bible study to remind students.

Instagram:​

Instagram will be used to share Chi Alpha’s weekly gatherings, weekly devotionals/encouragement, and announce meeting times for their target audience to gain more attention to this organization. During this campaign, Instagram will post videos of campaign efforts and weekly gatherings. The link for the campaign’s website and information will be provided on Instagram. Chi Alpha can also gather much feedback from their audience on their Instagram page.

Advertising or Public Relations:

Social Media Site Comparison Chart:

Protocol for Social Media Management:

A. Frequency of Posts:

​Posts must be made at least 2 to 3 times within 24 hours preceding,during, and after every event and weekly Bible study.

B. Types of Posts:

a. Information on organization news

b. Images and videos from past events; images and videos of events and weekly Bible studies

c. Discussion to engage the target audience involving Savannah State University’s Chi Alpha

d. Devotional/encouraging quotes and links.

C. Ethical Considerations: ​Be respectful of opinions presented through comments and posts regarding Savannah State University’s Chi Alpha. ​Always sure to ​respond and reply in a timely manner.

D. Additional General Guidelines: ​Never use offensive language on any of the social mdia outlets, and ensure all followers are obtaining an response with any issue.

Implementation

:15 Commercial

Website Landing Page

Door Hanger

Brochure

News Release

Backgrounder

Fact Sheet

Dorm Visits

E- Newsletter

Web Advertisement 

Flyer

Campaign Evaluation

Campaign Goal:

The overall purpose of this campaign is to bring awareness to Chi Alpha’s Christian organization to all Savannah State University. With planning a communications campaign, GreenWill Communications Group will build interpersonal relationships between members of Chi Alpha and Savannah State University students.

Objectives:

To decrease that percentage of Savannah State University students who are not enrolled into Chi Alpha Christian organization by 17%, GreenWill Communication Group will encourage more students to become a part of Chi Alpha’s campus ministries.

To increase awareness of Chi Alpha’s presence on Savannah State University campus by 25% by the end of April 2017.

Implementation:

Out of the two objectives for the campaign, only one had to be achieved due to the short amount of time GreenWill Communications Groups had to implement the campaign. There were over ten deliverables produced during the campaign but only a certain amount was implemented.

Event:

Chi Alpha hosted an event, The Worship Experience, to encourage more students to join Chi Alpha Campus Ministries but also to enjoy a night of worship and praise with future and current members of Chi Alpha.

Flyers:

A large number of flyers were distributed around campus from the Student Union to Alexis Circle informing college students about Chi Alpha but also encouraging them to sign up or attend the event, The Worship Experience, hosted by Chi Alpha.

Dorm Storms:

To educate more students on Chi Alpha Christian organization, there was a dorm storm in Tiger Pointe with a sign up sheet for those students who wished to join, a flyer with the event information so students can attend, and also additional information about Chi Alpha for any student with questions about the organization. GreenWill Communications Group knocked on doors and if students were not home there were flyers placed under doors.

Posters:

There were a number of posters placed around campus on different bulletin boards to assist with increasing the number of students who are joining Chi Alpha Christian organization.

Evaluation Methodology:

The objective of this research is to explore, inform, and bring awareness to the Chi Alpha chapter to all Savannah State University students and to encourage more students to become apart of Chi Alpha’s organization. After the event hosted by Chi Alpha a survey was produced and distributed to students. There were 50 students who completed the second survey about Chi Alpha. The questionnaire was given to non-random students of both genders and all classifications from the ages of 18 as the youngest to 24 and older. Approximately, 36 female and 18 male students completed the survey. 85.2% of the students to participate in the survey were African American, and 14.8% of the students identified with different races. The link for the survey was distributed via emails, GroupMe chats, and through text messages. Before beginning the survey there was a consent form all students had to answer informing them on the purpose of the project but also mentioning how if one does not feel comfortable and wants to withdraw from the survey it is understood. The survey consisted of questions relating to what Savannah State students will want to see from Chi Alpha and whether or not they will join the organization. There were questions referring to students religion and whether or not they view their self as a Christian. After implementing, there were a few questions added to the survey asking if the event helped with students wanting to join Chi Alpha, and did seeing signage around campus increases the organizations presence on campus.

Findings:

After implementing a worship event, dorm storm event, posting posters, and passing out flyers, the results from the newly administered survey produced and showcased a great change. This campaigned yielded two forms of summative evaluation and one form of formative evaluation.

Conclusion:

As Chi Alpha continues to evolve on Savannah State University’s campus; more students have become aware of Chi Alpha while a few students joined the organization, which proves both objectives were met. Overall the campaign would have been more successful if time was used well during implementing and evaluating the campaign. Though both objectives were achieved the campaign could have been more effective if there was a higher budget for GreenWill Communications Group to use to print deliverables and for gas to drive around campus between classes to pass out flyers.

Formative Research:

The campaign process was shorter than we anticipated, we thought we would have more time to execute our plans but was cut short due to the scheduling of the campaign. As both members of GreenWill Communications Group are seniors that are graduating this semester, we suffered with using our time wisely due to the workload from our other classes. We were not able to meet up as much as we would have liked which left us to talk virtually with each other and work separately. As for future references, when working with groups we will use our time more strategically and hope for a better outcome.

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