Grassroots Community Engagement

It’s a phrase we’ve heard time and time again. Yet, it’s so true. There is no “I” in team. 

 

This is why developing a team of designated key communicators within your district is critical to effective communication in your district.

 

Here are three benefits to engaging with your community at a grassroots level to reach your parents and community members:

  1. Amplifying messaging – The goal of key communicator groups is to share your district’s messaging within their circles. This way, the community hears accurate information from a trusted source, and you amplify your messaging by sharing with those who may not hear or read your news through your traditional communication channels.
  2. Addressing rumors – Your key communicators can not only share your good news but speak up when inaccurate information is being spread. They are your eyes and ears in the community and can share with you what they are hearing “on the street” so you can address rising issues and rumors in a timely fashion. Additionally, most communities have a social media platform where people like to chatter, and, oftentimes, it’s about what is happening in the schools. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it can be powerful to have an informed community member dispel rumors from their own social media account.
  3. Boosting recruitment – Developing long-term community relationships provides a team of supporters to rely on when you need them most. Whether it’s a ballot issue or a district event, you have a pool of volunteers upon which to draw. They can be ready to help persuade others to take action. 

 

So how do you create a key communicator group? 

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  1. Your group should be representative of your entire community. It should include parents from all buildings, local business owners and those who do not have school-age kids – either because they don’t yet have kids, their kids are younger, or they are empty nesters.  

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  2. Determine your meeting cadence. We recommend meeting throughout the school year, and on a quarterly basis at a minimum. Several of our districts find tremendous benefit in meeting monthly. Other districts use a two-tiered approach, with a district-level communicator group facilitated by the superintendent and building-level communicator groups facilitated by the principal. 

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  3. Remember your primary goal, which is to share central themes and happenings in the district. Empower your key communicators with messaging to help spread information and build in time for questions and feedback for any issues or concerns they are hearing in the community so you are better prepared to address them. 

 

Community support for schools is rooted in communication and transparency. Building a team of grassroots advocates and communicators will help instill more confidence in the community and build an investment that will pay off for years to come.

By Becka Mayr | June 21, 2021 at 10:48 AM
Becka Mayr
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Tags: tips, Communication strategy, teamwork

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