Situation analysis

Trek Across Maine press conferenceThe Trek Across Maine is a 180-mile cycling event from Sunday River to Belfast. It is the largest fundraising event of its kind in the nation for the American Lung Association (ALA).

To increase fundraising and based on research from previous participants, in 2018, the American Lung Association decided to create a new route for the Trek in 2019 and start and end the ride in Brunswick. Also, registration numbers were below average leading up to the June 2018 event so the new route was created to boost excitement. The ALA needed to increase participation in the final months before the 2018 event and communicate the new route for 2019. The time frame for the work was two months.


  • Host a press conference to announce registration is still open for 2018 and announce new route for 2019
  • Convey positive messages about the new route, while limiting any negative reaction from Trek participants who did not want to see the route changed in the first 30 days after the announcement
  • Achieve at least 50 new registrations for the 2018 Trek by June 15, 2018


  • Conducted research to ascertain if event participants would be open to a new route, so we could stand by the decision
  • Hosted press conference to boost 2018 Trek Across Maine registrations and announce the new 2019 route
  • Increased exposure of the press conference by recording it on Facebook Live
  • Sent out emails and social media posts teasing “a big announcement” so that people would watch the live video feed from Facebook
  • Hosted press conference at 10 a.m., a good time for media to be able to attend and for people to watch at work
  • Sent out media advisory and made calls on the day of the event to get the media to come
  • Pitching to local and national media
  • Created a message map to help ALA staff communicate consistent messages
  • Hosted a press conference in Brunswick, the start of the new route, a plus because it was closer to Portland (where major media is located)
  • Invited the town manager from Brunswick to share his support for the event at a local level
  • Involved long time Trek participant Mary Catherine Tee, who has a strong social media following, in the press conference
  • Sent out press release about the new route in 2019 (included in supporting materials)
  • In all messaging, used the words “new route” instead of “change” because the word change can have negative implications


  • Print and TV media were at the press conference and covered the news
  • The press release was picked up by several other outlets
  • Based on feedback and research the ALA estimates the positive sentiment for the new route at 90% positive
  • The ALA had 58 people register in the final month
  • The Facebook post with the press release got the following reactions: thumbs up (47), love (2), surprise face (2), and a frown (1) indicating the overall positive sentiment about the new route