The Ontario Catholic Trustees’ Association has launched a new campaign that’s generating conversation and better awareness about Catholic schools in Ontario.
Last November, OCSTA launched the Together in Faith campaign. Led by OCSTA Director of Communications Sharon McMillan, the campaign set out to help diffuse opposition and to promote good news stories.
All three major parties have stated their support publicly, but we never like to become complacent,” says McMillan. “We wanted to take an opportunity to refresh our awareness campaign, and we looked at the current environment and opposition to Catholic education, and we wanted to raise the profile of the truly tremendous achievements happening in Catholic schools.”
The Together in Faith website has published stories showcasing good news and success stories featuring the people within the Catholic school hallways.
“There are great stories about teachers, students, communities and graduates – really fantastic things – that are happening in Catholic schools boards that people really need to know about,” explains McMillan. “We have Catholic school ratepayers who want to know what’s happening in Catholic schools. They need to know what’s going on.”
She says that while profiling the system is a key motivator, the other motivator is to strengthen support for Catholic education. OCSTA produced promotional tools to help Catholic supporters be strong advocates by offering quick and convenient access to messaging and promotional tools.
“We have an enthusiastic base and want to provide them with those resources,” says McMillan.
OCSTA had a third and final goal for the Together in Faith campaign, which was to broaden the faith message in a way that acknowledges the parent and how parents are choosing Catholic education for their children, even if they don’t come from a Catholic background.
“We have parents of other faith groups who support Catholic schools, and we’re acknowledging that Catholic schools and our traditions are appealing to many Ontarians of many different faiths.”
Doubling their Outreach, Cross-Country Attention
Since OCSTA launched its campaign in November, they have nearly doubled their email subscriber list. They’ve also had good response and outreach through their social media channels and have encouraged the 29 Catholic school boards in Ontario to promote and share the message.
To help promote the word in the Church, OCSTA put together pre-written templates that parishes can publish in the weekly bulletin. They also integrated a website feature in which a visitor can write directly to their MPP via the website in order to express their support to Catholic education in Ontario.
“We widened the scope of the kinds of tools that we are using,” explains McMillan, adding they worked with a digital marketing company, Enterprise Canada.
While the Together in Faith campaign focuses on Ontario Catholic schools, the outreach has gone beyond the provincial borders. McMillan says they’d be thrilled if the campaign further promotes Catholic education from sea to sea.
“It’s become such a high-profile campaign that it’s being shared widespread by people interested in how Catholic education can contribute to the well-being of society,” says McMillan. “This campaign is relevant across the country and if it means we help other provinces to raise the profile of the value and benefit of a Catholic school system, then we couldn’t be happier.”