Oklahoma Human Services Developmental Disabilities Services Waitlist

Public Affairs Campaign Case Study


Candor and Oklahoma Human Services embarked upon a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to end the 13-year waitlist for Developmental Disability Services (DDS). With more than 5,100 Oklahomans in need, many parties came together to agree on a $30 million+ investment to end the wait. Candor was retained as the PR & marketing agency to manage messaging for the legislative budget request and related waitlist communications. 


Oklahoma Human Services planned to request additional funding for services and provider reimbursement rates (to attract more healthcare workers to serve the influx of families). The agency turned to Candor to help build a narrative to support the significant legislative ask.  
To combat negative public sentiment, we emphasized Oklahoma Human Services’ new leadership team, communicated proactively and focused on radical transparency by literally sharing the strategy for ending the wait.  
We launched a multi-pronged campaign leading up to the end of the 2022 legislative session. We employed media releases; email marketing; videos with legislators, waitlist families, providers and Oklahoma Human Services leadership; and social media advertising. In mid-session, we began planning for an announcement with legislative leadership as budget negotiations solidified.  


The biggest indicator of success was the Legislature appropriated funds to end the wait!   
Additionally, we garnered 119 media hits (44 more than our goal) and the following results on social media: 
  • Over 2 million impressions (double our goal) 
  • Over 18,000 link clicks (6,000 more than our goal) 
  • Reached nearly 530,000 people (130,000 more than our goal)   
We reversed online sentiment, turned naysayers into advocates and built momentum for the legislative investment the agency desperately needed.