By Sam Park, 2017 Get It Back Campaign Intern
The summer months are the perfect time to expand outreach efforts. Trying to reach new clients and community partners can feel overwhelming, but outreach does not have to be an anxious afterthought. Here are a few easy ways to get a head start on your outreach plans this summer.
- Review your current outreach tactics. Gather a team of VITA staff to review what outreach activities you already conduct. Reflect on how effective your efforts have been, and if community needs are being met. What populations are you reaching easily, and who is overlooked? Think about how you can enhance your efforts to reach more people. Not sure what steps to take? Check out these strategies to connect with different groups in your community.
- Create or re-evaluate short and long-term goals. Develop a timeline of what your short and long-term outreach goals are. This timeline can serve as a framework to inform how and when you’ll conduct outreach efforts. The summer is an ideal time to begin conversations with new partners, and to assess marketing materials and media strategies. Having a timeline will make advertising, managing VITA sites, and recruiting volunteers much easier in the months to come.
- Brainstorm new community partners. Are there local churches or community centers that can share their services or facilities? What about schools or credit unions? Finding new partners is an easy way to connect with key networks in the communities that you serve. It’s important to collaborate with community institutions because they bring valuable resources that can support your work and amplify your message.
- Start on volunteer recruitment. Partnerships and media are great ways to find new volunteers. Summer planning can also help you retain the volunteers you already have by becoming more prepared to support them.
- Try out social media. Social media can be a vital tool to reach new people. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow you to not only share content about tax credits, but also connect on a personal level with the community. They also offer in-depth demographic data so you can tailor your messaging based on your intended audience. Use the summer to really explore the features of different social media sites and to develop a plan of what you will share and how often.
- Meet with organizations. Once your team has planned next steps and goals for outreach, you can begin to meet with community groups that could become helpful partners. You can also bring organizations together to create a tax credit outreach coalition if there isn’t already one in your area. Facilitate a few interest meetings to determine potential opportunities for organizations to participate. By setting the stage for collaborative efforts, your outreach activities will have more breadth for the next tax season.
Need more ideas? See our resources to help your VITA team fire up your outreach acitvities this summer!