FORT LAUDERDALE -- For many kids, the hours between 3:00 and 8:00 PM are when their futures are decided. For more than 100 years, one place has opened its doors to make sure these kids have a place to go after school and stay out of trouble. That place is the Boys & Girls Clubs.

The Boy & Girls Clubs have more than 4,300 local clubs that provide a safe place for more than 4,000,000 young people to work on homework, play sports, and receive a hot meal; and in the process, change lives.

At the local level, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County (BGCBC) serves more than 12,500 at-risk youth, ages 6-18 each year from its 12 Broward County-area clubs making BGCBC one of the largest clubs in the nation. Their purpose is to inspire and enable children to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens and has proudly received the coveted 4 stars rating (out of 4 stars)by Charity Navigator for seven years in a row. This level of excellence has only been achieved by 4% of the Non- Profits in the USA over this seven-year period.

“The period leading up to the start of school is societally the most important time of year for us,” said Brian Quail, President/CEO for the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County. “The numbers speak for themselves. Crime rates drop when kids participate in our organization. We have a life-changing impact on children, families, and neighborhoods throughout the year. But our influence grows and becomes more critical during the school year”. While the organization’s role hasn’t changed in 158 years, the methods of membership recruitment definitely have.

That is why BGCBC (www.bgcbc.org) has turned to its Board of Directors for help. With technology becoming more essential in young people’S lives, BGCBC has teamed up with Paton Marketing (www.patonmarketing.com) and BrandStar (www.brandstar.com) to lead the Social Media Membership Campaign. Paton Marketing is a digital marketing and web site development company owned by Todd Paton, a member of the BGCBC Board of Directors. Paton Marketing recently merged with BrandStar, a nationally known content marketing firm which produces six syndicated television shows on the Lifetime Television Network.

“We realized that we had to promote our programs by aggressively touching people on numerous Social Media platforms,” said Quail. “These two firms combined to develop a very effective program which touched people on numerous Internet platforms.”

The targets were children between the ages of 6-18 years of age and parents in low-income households living within two miles of one of the 12 centers in Broward County. Campaign ads were developed for both Instagram and Facebook. The ads were distributed in mid-August, two weeks before the start of school. They were customized for parents and children.

The targets were children between the ages of 6-18 years of age and parents in low-income households living within two miles of one of the 12 centers in Broward County. Campaign ads were developed for both Instagram and Facebook. The ads were distributed in mid-August, two weeks before the start of school. They were customized for parents and children.

The two companies segmented the campaign with the understanding that parents and children respond to different types of Internet messaging.

“Our team realizes that parents are more likely to respond to Facebook while students are more tuned in to Instagram,” said Mark Alfieri, President/CEO of Brandstar. “The Facebook ads stressed the limited-time offer of the $5 annual membership fee with the benefits of safety, extended hours, homework assistance, snacks, and activities. The results speak for themselves.

With the help of these two Broward County-based marketing firms, BGCBC has made a huge impact with a 32 percent increase over last year in new members totaling over 1,500 new members. This is a distinct increase over the national average of 3 percent growth during this time.

“BGCBC is so grateful for the leadership and ideas that Todd brings to our Board. We really look forward to using these social media strategies for future fundraising events and membership campaigns.” said Quail.

“Our centers are filling up,” said Paton. “And most important, these youth are off the streets in a safe and enriching environment. As a Board Member, this is an important way for me and my company to give back to the community”.