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OUTreach =’s reaching OUT

30 Jun
OUTreach =’s reaching OUT

I am completely committed to living more intentionally. With that, I have realized something unsettling for me about blogging. My entries, and the entries of a million other bloggers, with great things to say, have not yet reached the homes of those that lack internet. I struggle with this, not because I think everyone should read MY blog, but because I believe that true outreach is about reaching those that are OUT of the realm that you are already in.

I think the internet is one of the greatest inventions EVER, and unfortunately, those that need resources most, (self- development literature, quick tips on how to improve your diet, lay summaries on what’s going on in the world) sometimes don’t know where and how to begin their improvement, even if they have the internet at home.

The concept of outreach has helped me to understand why religious organizers, community organizations, and people that want to share what they consider pertinent information, make it a priority to go door- to- door.

One summer, my colleague and I were working on recruitment efforts for our educational summer program. Enrollment numbers were low and we were quickly approaching our registration deadline. We rounded up 5 college volunteers and printed 300 fliers. We created a route for our college volunteers to do mailbox drops,  and encouraged our them to talk to any parents/ guardians that they ran into during their outreach.

The volunteers completed their door-to-door mailbox drops on a Friday night at 7pm. By Tuesday of the next week, there were 30 additional parents interested in enrolling their children in the summer program.

Although there has been an increase in the funding and creation of major green initiatives that give printed publications a run for their money, it is becoming more and more evident that internet only access to resources removes opportunities for low-income and economically disadvantaged families.

My S.M.A.R.T. solution and counteraction to this phenomenon: By January 2012 I will have a 4-page printed newsletter of major blog entries from Ashley S.C. Walls hand delivered to atleast 300 households in the Chicagoland area.

How do you balance community outreach and the internet?

http://www.italladdsup.gov/tools/resourcetoolkit/ResourceToolKit_J_Outreach.asp

Dont forget about the JUNE OPPORTUNITY

During the month of June I will offer one complimentary consultation for the top 3 individuals with the highest levels of engagement on my blog. (Winners can defer their consultation to a friend or family member of their choice). My complimentary consultation will focus on business and marketing development, grant writing services, and strategic development for a topic of your choice.

I am defining engagement as:

  • commenting on various entries
  • sharing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Digg, and/or twitter and tagging me or notifying me of the share
  • emailing posts to your friends or networks (bcc me on the email-ashleyscwalls@gmail.com)
  • And any other creative ways of engagement you can think of!
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8 responses to “OUTreach =’s reaching OUT

  1. K. Sidney

    June 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I basically pass out flyers, put up posters, and meet-and-greet people at social events, then use the Internet as a way for them to learn more about what I do. Real life encounters have and always will be stronger than virtual ones. You’re more likely to remember someone that you had a conversation with in person than you are to remember someone that you spoke with over the Internet because all of your senses (without the exception of taste I hope) are being stimulated when you meet someone in real life. Besides, people are more likely to believe that you take your business seriously if you have tangible items for them to take home other than just having a FREE webpage. The Internet is not a replacement for real-life interactions…it’s just a support tool.

     
    • Ashley S.C. Walls

      June 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm

      This is very true Keith! I think a mixture of both is important to keep in touch and remain relevant.

       
  2. Caroline B

    July 1, 2011 at 7:50 am

    This is interesting, in my PR role for Central Coast LETS I try NOT to drive (and spend $’s and emit carbon) to promote LETS, so I use email updates and social media increasingly. I am also very conscious of the the fact that many of the people LETS would help the most would not have a home computer. In Australia libraries offer free internet access but still it would take quite a lot of effort for, say, an elderly person to take advantage of this service. So I rely on members to promote LETS through word of mouth, I send community notices out to local publications of our group trading days and I keep an ear out for markets promoting sustainability and offer to subsidise the stall cost for a LETS member if they will promote LETS on the stall.

     
    • Ashley S.C. Walls

      July 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

      I think it is very important to know your audience and I think that the tactics you are losing are very appropriate for the LETS clients. Location for where things are held is also extrmemely important and I am growing increasingly aware of what the term accessibility truly means. Thanks for sharing tactics with us!

       
  3. Rebecca

    July 11, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Great idea! I like the idea of placing flyers in mailboxes. Some people, especially the elderly, won’t open the door for strangers. If you place flyers on a door knob or in the mailbox, your message will be received.

     
    • Ashley S.C. Walls

      July 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

      Thanks. I think this technique is effective especially if your advertisement is attractive and easy on the eyes.

       

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