Adventure Picks Communications & Volunteer Outreach Guide at Concrete Jungle
Written by Meggie Stewart, Communications and Program Expansion VISTA.
Concrete Jungle’s gleaning events at farms, orchards, and vineyards outside the city of Atlanta are called Adventure Picks. These are day-long events that typically involve a few hours of harvesting followed by an “adventure” to nearby places of interest such as a swimming hole, hiking trail, tourist attraction, or restaurant. Planning a successful Adventure Pick requires coordination with farmers, outreach to local food pantries and volunteer organizations, research about activities in the area, as well as Atlanta-based volunteer recruitment and communications. This guide includes a checklist for the individual or team at Concrete Jungle (CJ) responsible for communications and volunteer outreach, from the early planning stages until after the event.
Our supporters, both existing and new volunteers, find out about, sign up for, and spread the word about an upcoming adventure pick.
- Communicate the essential details of the pick including: location, date, and timing, agenda
- Build excitement
- Recruit new and existing volunteers
- Maintain good relations with farmer and local orgs
- Fill all sign up spots for the pick
- Maximize the amount of produce we harvest
- Be invited back next time by the farmer
4-6 weeks before the pick:
- All involved CJ staff decide on essential details, create an internal google calendar event
- Date (try not to conflict with other volunteer events)
- Schedule of the day
- Adventure afterwards,
- Equipment needed, etc.
- Publish the pick to the Airtable volunteer calendar, write a description which can be re-used on Facebook (FB) and Instagram (IG)
- Make FB event
- Announce the pick on Social Media using pictures and video from the pick last year and/or an event flyer. If it’s a new farm and there are no existing photos, use photos from a different, similar event and stock photos of the fruit/vegetable to be harvested.
- Announce in the Newsletter in the big section at the top of the newsletter
- Update Social Media Linktree with sign up link
- Create a promo kit in a folder on Google Drive to share with partner organizations. Include: Description of the event (press release), IG post with pictures and caption, FB post with a link to our FB event page, CJ logo, and CJ mission, printable flyer for the event.
- Send Promo kit to contacts on the press list. Press list includes news outlets, magazines, and partner nonprofit organizations.
Reaching out to Local Organizations, As Soon as Possible (3-5 weeks before the pick)
- Contact local organizations near the pick so they can plan to send volunteers or spread the word to their community, including: rotary club, scouting orgs, volunteer orgs, religious orgs, schools, libraries, gardeners, etc.
- Phone calls get best results, builds relationships with local folks
- Send promo kit to local orgs
- Follow up with more info as required
- If local orgs are organizing their own volunteers, such as in the Sumner Corn Pick, organize a virtual meeting to determine the start time and schedule for the day, record notes. Distribute these notes the week of the event.
2 weeks before the pick:
- Highlight pick on social media, co-author posts with any relevant orgs when possible, including:
- The farm we’re picking at
- Volunteer orgs we’re partnered with for the pick
- Anyone who donated supplies (example: Atlanta Botanical Garden)
- Tell Atlanta Fruit Pick leaders and Farm leaders to mention the upcoming adventure pick to their volunteers during reflection time
Week of the pick:
- Final Social Media posts, include info about the adventure afterwards, etc.
- Outreach to local organizations should be done, focus on following up with anyone who had questions, and helping them get volunteers signed up on Airtable
- Check for questions from volunteers at the CJ email and social media comments/messages every day. Common questions include:
- How to sign up
- Can children come (yes, with an adult present)
- What is the rain plan
- Send reminder email with all event details to the volunteers
- Recruit a photographer. This can be a communications committee member, pick leader, or staff member to take high quality photos and videos at the adventure pick to use for a social media/newsletter pick “recap” and use for next year’s promotion.
During and After the Pick:
- Post a story on Social Media during the pick if possible
- Send a thank you email to volunteers, including a link to upload their own pictures to share. Include “save the date” info for the next adventure pick coming up.
- Create a pick “recap” for social media and the newsletter using photos and videos. Include:
- thank you to the farmer who donated their produce
- total pounds harvested
- number of volunteers
- where the food is donated if appropriate to share