I live outside of Portland, Oregon (PDX), in Western Washington County.
There is a lot going on in this area, but, often, I find out about a
festival, a concert, a celebration, a class, or some other event only after
it happens. Or I attend an event and not many other people are there. Or I
hear from nonprofits lamenting that attendance to an event was low.
So I offer this list of easy ways to publicize an event or activity in the
area where I live. It's especially for nonprofit organizations, city
agencies (schools, police, parks departments, etc.) and communities of
faith in Western Washington County, serving Forest Grove, Cornelius, Gales
Creek, Gaston and Hillsboro.
Put together as much information as you can as early as possible before
the event, in writing. Some publications need to have information in hand
at least eight weeks in advance to include your information in a paper
publication - some even more than that. You need, at least, when the event
is happening, where, what the costs to attend might be, and a description
of the event, focusing on WHY someone would want to attend.
Have information about the event or activity on your web site as soon as
you can, weeks or even months in advance if possible, even if all you can
announce is the date and where the event is, but no other details. Make
sure there is a link to this info from your home page. Update the page
regularly as new information becomes available.
Write a press release at least four weeks in advance. The first paragraph
should have the name of the event or activity, the date(s) of such, the
name of the organization hosting or sponsoring the event or activity, and
the location of such. It should also say why the event or activity is
happening (does it benefit a particular charity, for instance?). In other
words: who, what, where, when and why
The second paragraph should provide additional essential information, such
as costs to attend the event or activity, where to buy tickets (if such is
required), if attendees should bring anything to attend, etc. The first
two paragraphs should have all basic information, such that a person could
stop reading at that point and have enough information to attend. Other
paragraphs can have quotes from the person in charge of the event,
information on the history of the event, and so forth.
Email the press release to these agencies (you can find the current email
via their web sites):
Grove/Cornelius Chamber of Commerce
-- City of
Grove Leader (part of the Oregonian)
-- The Pacific
Index (newspaper of Pacific University)
County Visitors Association
As appropriate, you will want to email your press release to:
University Center for Gender Equity
University Center for Peace and Spirituality
University Center for Civic Engagement
-- Churches in one of or all four communities
If you want to reach even more people nearby, contact similar
organizations in Banks and North Plains. And for even more people, email
similar organizations in Hillsboro.
If this is a large-scale volunteering event, a workshop that could help
nonprofit staff, or a job opening at a nonprofit, send the press release
to the CNRG
(Community Nonprofit Resource Group) Community Commons
Post a brief announcement to these Facebook groups and Facebook accounts,
with links to your web site for more information:
-- Your organizationís Facebook account
Grove Free Classifieds
Oregonís Washington County
Create a Facebook event as well. This allows people to express that they
are interested in the event, or that they are going. This can help you get
a general headcount, and means each person who has marketed the event as
"interested" or "going" will receive regular reminders about it in their
newsfeed. If you need a different way for people to RSVP, then say so in
your description on the Facebook event.
Post more than once to your organization's Facebook page about the event.
Include a photo or graphic if possible.
Be ready to respond to any comments about your event promptly - check in
at least once a day to respond to inquiries.
Encourage all staff and volunteers to share this information via their own
Facebook accounts as well, and to mark that they are "interested" or
"going" to the event as well.
Tweet about the event or activity with links to your web site for more
information. One tweet isnít enough; a tweet once a week, every week
before the event, as far out as you can (six weeks in advance isnít too
early) is better. Including a name of one of the communities in each tweet
- Forest Grove, Gaston, Cornelius and Gales Creek - will help more people
find your information - people who arenít yet following you on Twitter.
Also include tags, like #Oregon and @WCVA
to reach people who arenít yet following you on Twitter.
Encourage all staff and volunteers to retweet this information via their
own Twitter accounts as well..
If you know how to use Instagram, make a graphic to post to Instagram that
has all the basic info: who, what, where, where, and why. In the
description, put all of this information as well.
If you have a GooglePlus account, you should post the information there as
well - it will increase your placement on Google when someone looks for
your organization or the event. It should link back to your web site with
Post a flyer with complete information at all libraries in Forest Grove,
Cornelius, Gales Creek and Gaston - and Hillsboro as well, if you want an
even bigger crowd. Also post the flyer on the bulletin boards around the
student union at Pacific University
If you have time, ask shops in the four rural communities to post the
flyer in their windows.
If you are hoping for Portland-area TV coverage before the event, you can
send your press release to the four local TV stations there. However, be
aware that this might result only in an effort by the TV station to get
you to pay for live, onsite coverage before the event - its an
advertisement dressed up like news coverage.
During the event, post photos to your organization's Twitter and Facebook
accounts, and any other accounts you have, like Flickr and Instagram, with
information about what is happening. This may prompt latecomers to attend.
Also, it helps people remember for next time you have an event.
Be sure to ask people at the event, "How did you hear about this?"
Sure, there is more you can do to publicize your event, but these
aforementioned are the basics. They are free, easy-to-do, and will get
a Computer/Network Consultant
Staff at mission-based organizations (nonprofits, civil society
organizations, and public sector agencies) often have to rely on
consultants, either paid or volunteer, for expertise in computer
hardware, software and networks. Staff may feel unable to understand,
question nor challenge whatever that consultant recommends. What can
mission-based organizations do to recruit the "right" consultant for
"tech" related issues, one that will not make them feel out-of-the-loop
or out-of-control when it comes to tech-related discussions?