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Chicago Region Trees Initiative: The Morton Aboretum

Planting the roots of corporate outreach strategy.

The Challenge

The Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI), established by The Morton Arboretum, wanted to expand its corporate prospect pool and outreach strategies for the new Chicago Region Carbon Program, which provides critical financial support for urban forestry projects and advances equitable benefits to communities across the Chicago region.

CRTI engaged APCO to recommend messaging and communications materials that will resonate with corporate audiences, ultimately leading them to partner with CRTI to invest in tree planting and/or purchasing of carbon credits.

The Solution

APCO took a three-pronged approach to developing recommendations for connecting with corporate audiences and positioning the unique benefits of CRTI’s program. The team conducted comprehensive desk research and engaged internal ESG experts to assess the general perception around tree planting initiatives, identified similar programs that are currently attracting corporate partners and analysed where the largest corporations in Chicago are focusing their ESG investments.

APCO presented recommendations to CRTI that included:

  • An overview of the current landscape
  • How corporations view and react to environmental philanthropic efforts
  • A refreshed list of corporate prospects
  • Best practices in strengthening CRTI’s storytelling and outreach efforts, including ideas for long-term engagement and high-level corporate messaging materials

The Result

APCO adapted key findings and recommendations and created key messages for CRTI to use as the foundation of its corporate engagement communications, including a presentation for prospects.