CHESTER — OPR Group, a public relations/marketing communications firm in Chester, has won the Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America for its work with the Diocese of Pittsburgh in support of enrollment in Catholic schools.
The award was presented at the PRSA’s 2022 Anvil Awards ceremony in New York City on May 19 as the best integrated marketing campaign for nonprofits or nonprofits in America.
OPR Group led a project team of Pittsburgh-area communications partners, including Hoffmann Murtaugh, Pipitone Group, and CorCom, Inc.
“It was a total team effort,” said OPR Group Chairman Bob Oltmanns, APR, Fellow PRSA, of Chester. “The mission of increasing school enrollment in the Diocese of Pittsburgh is essential not only to the Pittsburgh community, but also to the mission of faith-based education in our region. We all believed deeply in this mission and lived it every day of this campaign.
The campaign was part of the strategy of the diocese “Pittsburgh Catholic Schools Lead the Way” initiative, and was created to increase enrollment in Catholic elementary and secondary schools in Pittsburgh. Enrollment in Catholic schools in the United States fell 6.4% from 2020-2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and economic distress – the largest single-year drop in 50 years. As a result, the number of Catholic schools nationwide has fallen from 11,000 in 1970 to less than 6,000 today.
In the Pittsburgh area, Catholic schools have endured years of declining enrollment, school closings, consolidations and teacher layoffs. The Diocese of Pittsburgh and OPR Group have developed an integrated marketing campaign to educate parents about the important values and attributes of a Catholic education, overcome a decade of decline, and increase enrollment.
Through an integrated marketing campaign of storytelling and strategic messaging, enrollment in Catholic schools in Pittsburgh grew from 2020 to 2021, far exceeding enrollment in public and private schools during the same period.
PRSA, the nation’s leading trade organization serving the communications community, announced the winners at its 2022 Anvil Awards ceremony, which honors the year’s best public relations tactics and campaigns and the highest standards of performance. high for the profession in the United States. A total of 40 Silver Anvil Awards, 29 Awards of Excellence and 18 Awards of Commendation have been awarded for 2022.