- May 2010
- Vol. 11, No. 4
Recruiting Adoptive Families in Rural Communities
Recruiting adoptive parents in rural areas requires a specific type of marketing approach. The staff of Northeast Ohio Adoption Services (NOAS) have written a step-by-step recruitment guide that demonstrates how the principles of marketing can be applied to family recruitment in rural areas and how building community partnerships provides access to adoptive families.
Over the course of a 6-year Federal Adoption Opportunities grant, the agency worked with four rural counties, with four goals in mind:
- Increase the number of adoptive families in rural communities
- Improve and enhance rural communities’ ability to support, strengthen, and sustain adoptive families
- Develop a sustainable rural community adoption model
- Develop a blueprint for targeted adoption recruitment in rural communities that can be replicated at local, State, and national levels
Targeted marketing, according to the NOAS recruitment guide, was the most fundamental program component. By researching the lifestyles and demographic factors of families in the rural counties of Ohio, including those who had adopted in the past, staff determined how to be successful in recruiting families. Direct mail was found to be the most beneficial target marketing source, followed by a brochure and the NOAS website.
In marketing social change, NOAS strove to inform Ohioans about the number of children waiting to be adopted and to reach prospective parents on an emotional level. Tools used for the social marketing campaign included direct mail, newspaper ads, bus signs, and a radio PSA.
Child-specific recruitment proved to be a powerful tool. Faces and stories of actual children waiting to be adopted were used in marketing pieces such as "Faces of Adoption" posters and 60-second recruitment commercials.
Informational meetings, adoption workshops, and preadoption classes were a few of the remote recruitment services NOAS used to reach the targeted communities. Staff used fliers, ads in community newspapers, and coupon mailers to create awareness of information sessions. Over the course of the grant, the agency received over 1,800 inquiries about adopting and placed 64 children for adoption.
Recruiting, Preparing, and Supporting Successful Adoptive Families—A Step-by-Step Recruitment Guide to Educate and Empower Agencies for Recruiting Adoptive Families in Rural Communities was written collaboratively by NOAS staff. The guide also serves as the final report for their grant, the Rural Targeted Community Outreach Federal Adoption Opportunities Grant from the Children's Bureau.
The guide can be downloaded from the NOAS website:
http://noas.com/admin/reports/NOAS%20RTCO%20Recruitment%20Guide.pdf (7,700 KB)