Across several communication channels, Marion-Polk Food Share maintains a steady stream of information to the public about programs, events and needs.
“We on the public relations team have our ears tuned to finding stories within MPFS,” said Phil McCorkle, vice president for development. “Information is shared during regular staff meetings, brainstorm sessions and one-on-ones. Quarterly reports reflecting food distribution and service numbers and program activity often provide fodder for news reports.
“We also invite staff to submit ‘My View’ blogs and story and blog ideas. These submissions are funneled to the public relations team and edited or transformed into items for public consumption that meet our corporate identity standards. Program and department heads also look to the PR team for assistance in getting the word out about their activities.”
The Food Share’s multiple channels include newspapers, radio, TV, community calendars, regional magazines, face-to-face meetings, chambers of commerce, neighborhood associations, colleges and universities and social media, he said.
How do he and his staff decide where the news goes?
“Relevance of information to a particular audience is the primary factor for determining which communication channels are selected for information dissemination,” he said. “Timing of dissemination is another factor.”
Some media require longer lead times, for example. Social media can draw immediate responses, while newspapers are less immediate, and magazines take longer to respond.
To reach media and the public, Food Share also uses e-mail blasts, website, speaker’s bureau, tours, food and fund drives (the current Rotary Food Drive is one of the biggest) and special events.
Monthly sustainer donors receive updates by e-mail each month. Rachel Humpert, sustained giving coordinator, reports on latest developments and always includes a thank-you message.
Several (five on Tuesday alone this week) Facebook posts alert followers to current activities.
“Our website blog and Facebook posts are generally written with a more personal voice,” Phil said. “The blog posts tend to be a few paragraphs in length and include links to pertinent sites and/or information and photos. The Facebook posts are briefer, friendly and frequently link to the longer blog posts so people have the option of more information.”
Using media like this is one key feature of a nonprofit’s outreach. Jim Gochenour will discuss more about Marketing: A Critical Tool for Development when he presents to Mid-Valley Development Professionals April 26. The program begins at 3 p.m. at Central Willamette Community Credit Union, 7101 Supra Drive SW, Albany.