We are excited to invite you all to join us for a free conference call being hosted by our partners at CommunityMatters® and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design on Thursday, June 20th from 3:00 to 4:00 pm Eastern. The call will feature Amy Frykman from Resource Media and Fran Stoddard of the Orton Family Foundation who will share strategies and insights on how we can change our outreach efforts to increase attendance at our events and dialogues “beyond the same ten people.” You can read more about the call below, and register for the call here. This is the first in a three-part series, so keep an eye out for next month’s installment.
You get it. You know broad and diverse participation matters to good community planning and design. Now you are trying to figure out how to get more than just the “same ten people” to participate in your effort. You are trying to get at the elusive “general public.”
Here’s a first tip – there’s no such thing as a general public! People come from different backgrounds, they have many interests, and they organize themselves in a lot of ways. So, you need to create a project communications plan that helps you target your message and tactics to the actual people who live and work there.
A communications plan doesn’t need to be complicated but it does have several key components including goals, target audiences, strategies, budget, timeline, and tactics. Taking time on the front end of your project to figure this out will help you make the most of your resources, raise the visibility of your project, and draw more people to participate.
This month’s CommunityMatters conference call, in partnership with the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, will get you started on the path to doing just that.
We’ll be joined on June 20 by Amy Frykman, Vice President at Resource Media, a non-profit with years of experience shaping communications strategy for communities and local projects. Resource Media’s Communications Workbook is one of the best places to start: a step-by-step guide to creating a communications plan.
We’ll also hear from Orton Family Foundation Communication Consultant, Fran Stoddard, about some common challenges Orton sees in their work with small cities and towns. People often think there are no effective channels to spread the word in their town, or that there are too many ways that are impossible to prioritize.
Tools like Orton’s Community Network Analysis help you figure out the best ways to reach different people and different interests in your town. From that analysis, you can identify the communications channels that will be most successful.
People also struggle with how to use their communications channels effectively. For instance, the way you announce your project through the local media will be different from how you design an event flier. Sounds obvious, right? But how many times have you seen boilerplate text just cut and pasted from a press release onto colored paper?
Check out the guides at Cause Communications for some great, free online resources about how you should (and absolutely should not!) design posters and other materials to engage audiences. Most of us wrestle with how to talk about community planning and design projects without relying on technical jargon or vague language. There are some key ways you can improve your message: Keep it short and simple, make it authentic, and have a consistent core that you can adapt to different audiences.
Easy, right? Easier said than done. So join us on the line on Thursday, June 20 for more tips from Amy and Fran, and we’ll get you on your way to creating powerful, effective strategies to reach the people in your town.
This call is the first in a three-part series co-hosted between CommunityMatters and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD). The series is designed to help any community working on a design or planning project get the skills they need to succeed, as well as the inspiration to get started.