Social Marketing Toolkit

This resource is designed to build the capacity of change agents in local school communities to encourage school discipline reform by school and district administrators, school boards, and other policymaking bodies. It suggests ways in which advocates can raise awareness about the prevalence of, alternatives to and negative outcomes associated with the use of exclusionary discipline among a variety of constituencies such as parents, teachers, unions, advocates, community based organizations, law enforcement and local business.  With social marketing materials such as infographics, the toolkit offers guidance on how to launch campaigns with the aim of improving the conditions for learning in schools, eliminating discipline disparities, stemming the pipeline to prison and encouraging the adoption of positive approaches to school discipline.

This toolkit:

  • Defines social marketing;
  • Provides general resources on developing social marketing campaigns;
  • Suggests effective social marketing strategies and practices;
  • Recommends tools to help you develop marketing materials; and
  • Offers a repository of model social marketing campaigns, infographics, interactive visualizations, and videos.

What is Social Marketing?

Social marketing applies traditional, consumer marketing principles, techniques and tools to social problems (e.g., childhood obesity, the pipeline to prison, climate change. The goal of social marketing is to influence target audiences to:

  • adopt a new behavior (e.g., eating organic produce),
  • reject a behavior that may be perceived as undesirable (e.g., using gas lawn mowers),
  • modify a current behavior (e.g., decrease household water consumption),
  • abandon a potentially unhealthy habit or harmful behavior (e.g., smoking),
  • continue or sustain a behavior that is perceived as being helpful if done routinely (e.g., brushing teeth twice daily), and/or
  • swap an undesirable behavior with a desirable one (e.g., walk to work instead of drive).

As a discipline, social marketing seeks to:

  • encourage and reward good behaviors rather than punish bad ones;
  • not only directly benefit individuals but also improve the well-being of society at large; and
  • offer a systematic process for selecting behaviors and target audiences, identifying barriers and benefits to behavioral change, developing and implementing strategies to address these barriers and facilitate these benefits.

Source: Lee, N. R., & Kotler, P. (2011). Social marketing: Influencing behaviors for good. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • General Info
  • Strategies & Practices
  • Tools
  • On The Ground
  • Other
General Info: 

Social Marketing: Influencing Behaviors for Good
(2011) Nancy R. Lee and Philip Kotler

This book offers a 10 step process for planning and implementing social marketing campaigns designed to bring about behavioral change in such areas as health, the environment and financial literacy. The process includes guidance on selecting target audiences, campaign objectives and goals (e.g., how to identify target audience barriers and benefits); developing social marketing strategies (e.g., how to develop a positioning statement, how to decide on messaging, how to select communication channels); and managing social marketing programs (e.g., how to establish a budget and find funding sources).

The Basics of Social Marketing: How to Use Marketing to Change Behavior
Social Marketing National Excellence Collaborative

This resource is a primer on how to use marketing to change behavior on the following topics:

  • Social marketing for behavior change
  • Definitions and basic elements of social marketing
  • Ten strategic questions
  • The six phases of social marketing
  • Key social marketing concepts

The guide provides a case study and additional resources to learn more about social marketing.


Implementing a Social Marketing Effort
Community Tool Box

This resource provides a framework for conducting a social marketing campaign. It offers:


Gateway to Health Communication & Social Marketing Practice
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This guide provides resources to help build health communication and social marketing campaigns and programs including:

  • Audience: Provides resources for identifying and targeting population segments
  • Campaigns: Presents examples of successful social marketing campaigns
  • Research/Evaluation: Provides communication science research summaries, social media metrics tools, research tools, and evaluation tools
  • Channels: Presents media and website development resources to help with designing the best outreach strategy
  • Tools & Templates: Provides links to tools and templates such as social media tools, online images, and interactive websites
  • Social Media Toolkit
Strategies & Practices: 

House Party

Attendance Works

This resource can serve as a resource for planning house parties in your community to address discipline disparities. This resource offers tips for hosting a house party, a sample house party agenda, and a commitment card for participants.

Manage Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day

Social Media Today

This infographic developed by Pardot outlines how you can build engaged communities around your brand or cause in as little as 30 minutes a day using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram social media platforms.

Social Media Cheat Sheet


Although developed for small business, this infographic is a primer on social media platforms, the terminology associated with each, and how to use them to support your social marketing efforts.









Create custom, eye-catching infographics on the web in minutes for free.

Implementing a Social Marketing Effort

Community Tool Box


This resource provides a framework for conducting a social marketing campaign. It offers:


Create professional looking infographics using intuitive editing tools, ready-to-use themes and a gallery of images or upload your own. 

The Info-Activism How-To Guide: Strategies and Tools for Digital Campaigning

Tactical Technology Collective

This guide brings together information activism strategies, digital tools and case studies from around the world. The Guide is structured around three levels of campaign outcomes:

  • raising awareness,
  • getting an audience engaged, and
  • moving towards a specific action.

It includes basic campaigning how-tos, tools for collaboration, outreach, mobile communication, and examples of inspiring info-activism campaigns.

Visualization Tools

Tactical Technology Collective


Whether you are trying to clean your data, spot patterns, or create a data visualisation, there are many free tools available online. This resource can help you find the right tool create your own infographics and visualizations based on your needs and skill level.


This service offers high quality visual content at a low cost including videos, infographics, presentations, social media, web experiences and ebooks. The site also houses a searchable gallery of infographics and interactive visualizations and visual content marketing education resources.

On the Ground: 

Telling the National Story

Use these infographics, interactive visualizations, and videos created by national organizations to support your social marketing activities.


A State-by-State Look at Students Referred to Law Enforcement

Center for Public Integrity
Discipline Data: Charter Schools vs. Noncharters

Gender Nonconforming Youth: Discipline Disparities, School Push-Out, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline and LGBTQ Youth of Color: Discipline Disparities, School Push-Out, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Report Infographics)

Keeping Kids Out of Court: A Primer on Status Offenses Status Offense Reform Center

This infographic presents the latest national data on status offenses such as truancy, discusses why court based approaches are inappropriate, and highlights some states that are finding innovative approaches to keeping kids in the community.

Minor Infractions: Breaking Down the School to Prison Pipeline

Pathways to Pushout Fact Sheet

Dignity in Schools
School to Prison Pipeline

Advancement Project
Who's at Risk of School Expulsion Infographic

National Clearinghouse on Supportive School Discipline
Who’s at Risk of School Suspension Infographic

National Clearinghouse on Supportive School Discipline


Classroom Confidential: When Student Discipline Goes Too Far

Invest in Education, Not Incarceration - Push Back Against School Pushout

DignityInSchools Campaign
School Discipline Consensus Report Highlight Video

CSG Justice Center
Taking Back Our Schools: Organizing to Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Advancement Project
Young People Speak Out About Exclusionary School Discipline

American Institutes for Research
Zero Tolerance School Discipline Policies


Telling the Local Story

Here are some examples of how local stories can be told. They may help you tell your story, or inspire you to create your own.


Chicagos School to Prison Pipeline

Policing Chicago Public Schools 2: School-Based Arrests 2011 and 2012 (Report Graphic)

Project Nia
Policing Chicago Public Schools: Gateway to the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Interactive Map)

Project Nia


Do Tri-State Schools Discipline Based on Bad Behavior or Racial Bias?

WCPO Cincinnati
Mississippi Town Sued by U.S. Department of Justice Over 'School-to-Prison Pipeline'

Resilient: The School Discipline Revolution in Walla Walla, WA

League of Education Voters
Schoolhouse to Jailhouse

NYCLU Youth Camera Action Project
The Chicagoland Lens: A Look at Chicago Public Schools

University of Chicago Institute of Politics