Thursday, August 22, 2013

Because East of the River Outreach Should Be More Than A Flyer

The Advoc8te still accepting flyers
Originally posted August 2011. 

Not that I don't like paper flyers, I have enough of them to wallpaper my house twice over but there really needs to be a more diverse (and green) outreach strategy when it comes to connecting  East of the River. Yes, there is the serious issue of the "digital divide" but the internet is here to stay and people (even older people) are cruising the information super highway.  Don't sleep, my 85 year old neighbor sends me emails and my mother follows my blog religiously (she was following me on Facebook but I had to shut that down quick - sorry Mom!). The problem with some outreach efforts are that they are homogenous one way or the other (either purely paper or purely electronic).

Despite the many benefits of flyers, internet, and social media let us not forget that nothing beats a "personal touch" and whenever possible that is the way to go, but sometimes the challenge is reaching the people in order to touch them (that sounded much better in my head).

How many times have we heard about a good community meeting after it happened or went to one that had more government representatives than community residents? It's kind of like throwing a party and only your grandma shows up. When it comes to East of the River outreach efforts, especially those involving the DC and Federal government there needs to be a combination of off and online tools in the community outreach toolbox. I can't recommend enough that East of the River organizations get in the social media game.  Newsflash: the internet is here to stay and Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are free and are for the most part pretty user friendly. We need to do a lot of different things in order to reach a lot of different people.

We have seen the fallout of what happens when organizations either intentionally or accidentally (depending on who you ask) skip that all important step of community outreach -- BTW you have to get "out" in order to "reach."  The old saying may be, "it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission" but outraged community advocates (especially in Ward 8) will make you feel both and twice over if you try to prevent than from having their say. Please don't let Ms. Rose think you were trying to shut her out - she will go off!



Nothing beats the human touch.
So with that in mind (and after being a victim of spotty outreach myself), I've decided to open up, at least temporarily, sponsorships on CHotR to DC and Federal government agencies looking to extend their outreach arm online and East of the River. Until now I have pretty much limited paid sponsorship opportunities to community conscious (that means no liquor or check cashing) small businesses and nonprofits. I'm not passing judgement on liquor stores or check cashing spots (okay maybe a little) but that is not what CHotR is about. I am willing to at least try (on a trial basis) to incorporate government agencies. That still won't give then a pass, I reserve the right to call "foul" on tomfoolery and shenanigans. I've always been in the habit of voluntarily posting flyers, blurbs, and reader submissions that I have found interesting and of community benefit (and will continue to do so)  but I am curious to see how (and if) this blogging thing can be beneficial to government agencies, non-profits, and businesses etc. trying to diversify (or update)  their outreach and marketing initiatives in Wards 7 and 8.

That being said, I always like to keep things on the "up and up" or as "up and up" as I can, considering this is something new to me and I am trying it out.  It might work (or not) and then I can expand or relax my guidelines over time. However, paid sponsorships are just that - paid (a girl has to eat) - and reflect the ideas of the sponsor and not necessarily The Advoc8te (although I won't  post anything I feel is  harmful or exploitive).  Posts that are sponsored will be marked "Sponsored" just like ads are marked "Advertisements."  If I have a relationship with an organization, even unpaid, I try and disclose that because I prefer to error on the side of transparency just short of all up in my underwear drawer. That being said, work with me on this while I iron out the kinks, I am open to suggestions and feedback. I want this to be an outreach tool, not a free-for-all of random sponsored posts and advertisements. I am going to limit sponsored posts/advertisements to maintain the overall integrity (and appearance) of the blog.  The primary purpose of this blog and my two others has always been to provide an online resource of news and editorials for Congress Heights and East of the River.

If you have any questions or are interested in sponsorship/outreach opportunities on CHotR or one of my other blogs send an email to advoc8te@congressheightsontherise.com  or blogs@respindc.com. As always,  special incentives for East of the River small businesses and nonprofits.

Holla

The Advoc8te



6 comments:

Thaddeus Hillsdale said...

Well said. The flyers these groups pass through the neighborhood are often a couple days and a couple dollars short.

Anonymous said...

Love the idea. Outreach should begin where the people go and I go here everyday.

Purr said...

Where can I get that chair that Catwoman is perched on? That joint is fierce!

Anonymous said...

@Thaddeus

Ditto.

Anonymous said...

Are there any independent ads on this site?

Where are all the area's businesses?

The Advoc8te said...

You must be joking.