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City to Create Aggressive Panhandling Social Media Campaign

City of Orlando is working with the local creative company Prismatic on a social media campaign to address the issue of aggressive panhandling downtown. According to the Downtown Development Board's Executive Director Thomas Chatmon, aggressive panhandling is a big issue since new panhandling laws were approved by City Council last July.

The social media campaign is designed to change the behavior of “givers” and provide awareness to all regarding Orlando’s position as a compassionate city and its focus on ensuring all neighbors thrive, not survive," according to the Communications Concepts document.

The campaign will cost the City $20,000.

It would encourage givers to provide and leverage their support through dedicated charity organizations and a "cashless donation solution" which could come in the form of a mobile website, an app, or a subscription service like Samaritan.

Below are the creative communication concepts.

  1. Visitors - In-market and out-of-market visitors are confronted by aggressive panhandlers. Though Orlando is not unique to this issue, we can be unique in our approach to equipping visitors with information about how to respond when confronted by aggressive panhandlers. Messaging for this audience will include a call-to-action on how to give smart rather than being part of a quick fix.

  2. Locals - Whether downtown professionals, residents, or students—all are continually confronted by aggressive panhandlers on a routine basis. Some have developed continued giving relationships with panhandlers and most recognize aggressive panhandlers that routinely frequent downtown Orlando. We need to advocate for real change, rather than providing quick fixes, and educate downtowners about how smart giving is used to create lasting help and assistance.

  3. Business - Our downtown business community demands an organized, cohesive, and strong approach to safeguarding its patrons from aggressive panhandling. To achieve this, there must be united communications regarding how to address aggressive panhandlers. Additionally, they need materials that will help empower their patrons and teams to be part of the change, not a quick fix that perpetuates the challenge.

  4. World - Every major city around the nation is confronted with this same issue and all are looking for ways combat it. With 72 million visitors last year, Orlando is the world’s vacation destination, and there is a unique opportunity to become an inspiration source and leader in uniting compassion and action to educate and enforce meaningful change.

In March the company provided the City with a timeline of tasks running April thru August. In June it provided initial samples of creative communication. It's currently working through the formal strategy and creative campaign according to its own presentations.

$725,000 per year will be going to another program approved by City Council May 29th starting this Fall to address aggressive panhandling and other downtown needs: the Downtown Ambassador Program.


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