Today’s teachers are looking for innovative ways to engage students in the classroom and help them compete in an increasingly tech-savvy world. Unfortunately, many school districts barely have enough funding for textbooks, let alone iPads, art supplies, or other gadgets. Chevron created the Fuel Your School program as a way for the company and participating partners to give back to the community and address teachers’ funding dilemmas. Community members in 18 markets throughout the United States help their local schools by filling up at participating Chevron and Texaco locations. Through the month of October, every 8 gallons of fuel translates into $1 (up to $250,000) to support local public education. For the past three years, Fuel Your School has benefited teachers and students in Ada and Canyon counties.
First, we needed to spread the word to teachers that funding was available for their classroom projects. Second, we needed to encourage the community to fill up their cars at participating Chevron, Texaco, Jackson’s, and Gem Stop locations to raise the full $250,000 available to local schools. We wanted teachers to get familiar with the program, including how to propose projects that were likely to receive funding, and feel empowered to post their projects on DonorsChoose.org at the start of the school year. For community members, we focused on the connection between filling up the tank and supporting local teachers and students.
Choosing the right target audiences was key. During the first two years of the program, a representative from Chevron strategically met with legislators and encouraged them to share the benefits of the program with their constituents. After two years, the legislators and their constituents were well versed about the program, had established a relationship with the Fuel Your School team, and anticipated the program’s return the following year. To prepare for the third year, the Chevron representative met with superintendents from Ada and Canyon counties and encouraged them to spread the word that teachers could receive funding if friends and parents of their students filled up their cars at participating stations.
Traditional media coverage brought awareness of the program to the forefront of the Treasure Valley. Local broadcast and print outlets attended classroom check deliveries to see first hand what the Fuel Your School program was doing for local public schools. The classroom delivery successfully provided the public with a visual that captured the impact Fuel Your School has on teachers and students.
- Coverage in local newspapers – the Idaho Statesman, Idaho Ed News, The Idaho Press Tribune, Boise Weekly, and My Meridian Press
- Coverage on local radio stations – 107.9 Lite FM
- Coverage on local broadcast channels – KIVI and KTVB
- In three years, Fuel Your School:
- Funded 797 projects
- Impacted 105,853 students
- Donated $750,000
Fuel Your School’s awareness campaign continues to be successful year after year and continually achieves its dual goals of empowering teachers and encouraging the community to fill up at participating gas stations.
- A successful annual campaign requires fresh ideas year after year and a focus on maintaining community relationships
- Holding visually appealing events, such as the classroom delivery, helps to secure effective media coverage
- Choosing event locations close to broadcast stations encourages media attendance in large markets