America Saves Week 2014 Mini-Grant-FINAL Report
eXtension Financial Security for All Community of Practice
Submitted by Dr. Barbara O’Neill, Rutgers University, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2014 eXtension America Saves mini-grant project included four deliverables:
1.Development and delivery of two webinars: Saving Money: Strategies for Non-Savers and Saving Money: Research
Insights, 2. Development and delivery of four Twitter chats about saving topics, 3. Reuse and re-marketing of six
animated videos about saving and America Saves and 4. Development of a nationwide social media campaign with
prepared messages sent by participating professionals to their social media networks. All deliverables were achieved.
Saving Money: Strategies for Non-Savers was presented to 148 participants on 2/4/14/. It is archived on the eXtension
Learn Web site at https://learn.extension.org/events/1426. A shortened version was presented to 10 participants on a NJ
Coalition for Financial Education webinar on 2/26/14. Saving Money: Research Insights was presented to 76 participants
on 2/27/14. It is archived at https://learn.extension.org/events/1442. A shortened version was delivered as a keynote
presentation to 32 members of the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education at their 2/21/14 meeting (see
PowerPoint presentation and pic.twitter.com/SwDzoBjzhy for group photo with savings goals).
Four Twitter Chats
The Twitter chats were held Monday evenings during February at 7 pm EST with a unifying hash tag of #eXASchat. A
total of 40 people participated in one or more of the Twitter chats. Each chat consisted of five topical themes that
participants responded to. A total of 168 tweets were also prepared to respond to the theme topics. Weekly prizes (gift
cards) were awarded for the best posts. The Web sites http://tweetchat.com/ and http://www.tchat.io/ were used to
manage the flow of incoming tweets. Post-chat Tweet Reach metrics (see http://tweetreach.com) were as follows:
Date # of Participants Estimated Reach Exposure Impressions # of Tweets Sent by Users to > 1,000 Followers
2/3/14 15 6,142 51,117 8
2/10/14 23 14,643 69,204 11
2/17/14 16 11,351 77,064 11
2/24/14 15 10,702 51,997 8
69 42,838 249,382 38
Taken together, an impressive outreach of almost a quarter million impressions was recorded from the four Twitter
chats, with about half of the outreach coming from contributors with more than 1,000 followers. Twitter accounts with
1,000+ followers are in the 96th
percentile of active Twitter users (see http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230487).
Six Animated Videos
The 2 to3 minute animated videos feature avatars “Joe” and “Susan” discussing America Saves and saving. They were
promoted using social media. As of 3/17/14, the six videos have been collectively viewed 608 times on Dr. O’Neill’s
YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/moneytalkBMO. They were also housed together on the Cooperative
Extension Money Smart Week Web site http://www.moneysmartweekpartners.org/usda and viewed there as well.
Social Media Campaign
A total of 113 Cooperative Extension educators, America Saves campaign coordinators, and others participated in the
America Saves Week (ASW) social media outreach project. A total of 60 new Facebook posts and 60 new tweets were
prepared in “cut and paste” format for distribution by participants throughout February 2014. The messages provided
information about America Saves or some aspect of saving money or reducing debt and expenses.
The project employed a triangulation (multiple evaluation methods) approach to measure impact: 1. a unique Twitter
hashtag (#eXasw), 2. a follow-up consumer survey, 3. a follow-up professional participant survey, 4. bit.ly analytics to
determine clicks on links embedded in messages, and 5. tracking pre- and post-project Twitter influence metrics. It
replicated the 2011-13 eXtension ASW social media campaigns, which are among the first ever thoroughly evaluated
financial education social media projects.
Three weeks after the end of ASW, 1,091 tweets were recorded by use of the hashtag, #eXasw, that was developed for
this project and included in all of the prepared tweets. This compares to 1,503 tweets in 2013, 1,437 in 2012 and 1,190
in 2011. Several thousand Facebook messages are also conservatively estimated to have been sent. By March 17, 2014, a
total of 1,277 clicks from Facebook messages and tweets were recorded (compared to 2,814, 1,550, and 602,
respectively, in 2013/2012/2011). A link to an evaluation survey was embedded in messages prepared for the final days
of ASW for feedback from followers/friends of project participants. Another evaluation survey link was sent to the
project participants themselves to gather feedback. Following is a brief description of results of these surveys:
Consumer (Followers/Friends) Survey Results
Respondents found the ASW messages very helpful (67%) or helpful (33%). Additionally, 67% visited one or more of
the ASW Web site links that were contained in the messages and 17% said they planned to. With regard to joining
America Saves, 22% of respondents reported that they did, 33% said that they planned to, 17% were already American
Savers, and 28% said they had not joined.
The following open-ended feedback was received from survey respondents:
♦ I read the information but am already a big saver so don’t see my answers in a negative light.
♦ Thanks for providing FCS Extension agents so much info for educating our communities.
♦ I like all the messages and suggestions you have.
Professional Collaborator Survey
Of the 113 project participants, 13 (11.5%) completed a post-ASW follow-up evaluation survey The number of social
media followers/friends reported by these 13 professional collaborators ranged from 35 to 885 and totaled 3,056 (versus
4,045 in 2013, 5,966 in 2012 and 8,163 in 2011). When the outreach numbers reported by all of the respondents were
combined, there was an average of 254 message recipients apiece (versus 192 in 2013, 199 in 2012 and 226 in 2011). As
another way to measure the outreach of the social media project, in addition to project participant self-reports, a Tweet
Reach report for #eXasw was pulled during America Saves Week and indicated the following:
Date # of Participants Estimated Outreach Exposure Impressions # of Tweets Sent by Users to > 1k Followers
2/25/14 24 3,751 7,007 0
Klout scores of 13 respondents who reported them increased from before to after the project and respondents’ total
average Klout scores increased from 29.76 to 38.84 (versus 32.6 to 39.6 in 2013, 20.3 to 29.3 in 2012, and 11.22 to
19.68 in 2011). For more information about Klout scores and metrics, see http://klout.com/.
PeerIndex scores were also reported. The scores of 9 respondents averaged 25.11 and 23.0 at the start and end of the
project respectively (versus 32.1 to 32.5 in 2013, 15.5 to 25.1 in 2012, and 4.94 to 11.52 in 2011). However, PeerIndex
changed its access format and was inaccessible to several respondents at the time that post-project data were being
collected. This, undoubtedly, affected post project average scores. For more information about PeerIndex scores and
metrics, see http://www.peerindex.net/.
More than 9 of 10 (92%) respondents said that they would participate in another social media financial education
project. The 168 tweets prepared for the four Twitter chats were sent to the participating professionals at the conclusion
of the project to use to continue to tweet savings messages.
The following open-ended feedback was received from survey respondents:
♦ I’ve received retweets, more followers, responses to suggestions, and invitations to use a Twitter product.
♦ Likes on Facebook as my Twitter posts go there as part of my social media
♦ Some ASW Facebook posts were “liked.” (2)
♦ Several [followers] indicated they had shared or I saw where they shared info
♦ Comments included “great info” and “wish I had listened earlier in my career”