BLOG

Community Outreach at Boston Area Gleaners

12 Nov 2020, by Admin in Visibility
Categories
You are here:
< All Topics

Community Outreach

STYLE GUIDE

All public-facing and promotional materials released should be consistent and intentionally designed. Having a consistent identity helps build a reliable impression of the organization in the eyes of the public and all supporters. To facilitate this, the Boston Area Gleaners Style Guide features a rundown of brand fonts, colors, logos, and layouts that should be used. BAG shares all branding resources, including fonts and logos, in the shared organizational drive for easy access.

FLYERS AND PHYSICAL MARKETING

Flyers can be a great way to get physical visibility out in the community. Current and past flyers are stored in the shared “Outreach and Communications” folder on the BAG server, and new ones can be designed in the offseason.

Consider posting these at sites where you can reach folks with interests in local food, community support, and service. Community gardens, for example, are a prime site for posting flyers about the organization’s programs and events.

Physical marketing has the potential to eat up a lot of time, so consider how you can most efficiently distribute materials. A great option is to collaborate with other groups. In the case of community gardens, BAG compiled a list of gardens in the Greater Boston area, and discovered that The Trustees of Reservations—already a partner of the Gleaners—oversees a large portion of these gardens. The Outreach Coordinator reached out to the garden manager directly, and coordinated to leave them with a stack of flyers to post on each property as they made their maintenance rounds. BAG staff will also bring a handful of flyers on gleaning trips to farms, and can check in with the farmer to see if they can post them on the property.

WEBSITE

The Boston Area Gleaners website is one of the first ways that much of the public interacts with the organization. Many volunteers, donors, and prospective collaborators will discover the organization through web searches and links from other sites. As such, the website aims to tell the most current story of the organization’s work in a high-level, introductory manner, and should easily route folks to the ways that they can take action—donating, volunteering, participating in fundraisers, and following on social media.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is the most frequent communication medium BAG uses. With Hootsuite, several posts can be scheduled at once for various platforms. To save time, it can be useful to also jot down post ideas as drafts in Hootsuite so that they may be quickly posted when in need of content. Canva is an extremely useful tool for creating quick graphics for social media—particularly infographics and promotional material.

Social media has not proven to be the best medium for short-term promoting of volunteer projects, as that can end up being too much information for casual followers. In a pinch, though, a last-minute call for volunteers on socials may be useful.

Posts on primary social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) might include:

 

• Updates on the gleaning season, including nice pictures from gleans and a shout-out to the farm.

• Partner spotlights (see below).

• Relevant articles on gleaning, food waste, and food insecurity—always those that mention Boston Area Gleaners, as well as those that broadly address the issues.

• Recognition of relevant holidays and visibility campaigns (i.e. International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, National Hunger Month, Dolores Huerta Day).

• Infographics related to food waste, food insecurity, and the food supply chain.

• Promotions for current fundraisers and events.

NEWSLETTER AND BLOG

BAG’s blog and newsletter are mediums where more long-form posts, stories, and engagement can happen. The blog is updated regularly—at least monthly. It might include reflections penned by staff, volunteers, and board members, partner spotlights, or shorter more fun content like recipes, poems, and photography. The newsletter is sent out to constituents once a month and will link to these blog posts, as well as include a number of other features about current goings-on at BAG. Mainly, it is intended to tell the story of what was achieved together this past month, and what ways can supporters can take action in the coming month. A short opening narrative and brief, digestible statistics on produce recovered might lead, followed by promotions for fundraisers and events, pictures, and other resources to share.

CREDITING PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS

Using communications channels to thank collaborators and supporters is an important way to maintain and strengthen partnerships in the community. Collaborating local farms, agencies, volunteers, donors, and funders are all putting their energy towards enacting BAG’s mission, so give them credit for the impacts that they made possible. Rather than saying “Thank you for helping us rescue or distribute x pounds,” keep the focus on them: “Your generous support enabled x pounds of produce to be made available to the community!” A good partnership goes both ways, and telling a partner’s story is also a great way to properly recognize them individually and thank them for all the work they do in the community—not just the work they do directly with BAG.

Forms of partner recognition through communications channels can include: 

  1. Spotlights on social media & blog posts: for top volunteers, new and old partner farmers & agencies, and funders (with a focus on the direct impact of their funds). Be sure to tag any group with the proper social media handle so that followers can visit their account.
  2. Instagram stories. This format can be used to recognize other groups’ shout-outs to BAG. When an agency or farm posts about a collaboration with the Gleaners, an IG story is a great way to repost that and thank them back for their partnership.
  3. Monthly featured funder on newsletter. Every month, one of BAG’s larger funders is recognized at the end of the newsletter with a personalized ‘thank you.’
  4. Listings on BAG website. BAG keeps a running list of partner farms, partner agencies, and contributing funders on the website, with appropriate links.