Coordinating Public Awareness Events
Karen Kalergis  -  2011/3/23
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
We are working toward development of an awareness campaign and proposed action steps to end violence against women. We hope many different organizations across the state will participate. Is there a tool box or template we can use to make this happen? How do we maintain quality and roll out of the campaign? Are there ways for each organization to make the message its own without diluting the main theme? What pitfalls should we avoid? Are there keys to turning awareness into community action? Can you point us to some successful statewide campaigns for guidance?
 
1.  Kkalergis
  To get buy in from the different organizations you want to engage them as soon as possible. People are more likely to participate in a coordinated campaign when they feel they have had a part in shaping it, see where their needs are met, and how they fit in. If theyve signed on, the consistency issue is resolved. The collaboration should think through what action is desired: generating more volunteers? Getting funding from the state? Changing legislation? Once youve identified what the end action is, your coordinated campaign shows where at the local level they can take that action, and then the organizations get what they want either volunteers, money or policy. Hold an event to kick off the campaign.
 
 
Looking for "back door" subjects that dv intersects with. I'm in a rural community and it's more effective to try to do awareness through other subjects than to try to do an event specific to dv here.
 
1.  linda foley,
 Identity theft and DV sometimes overlap and that would be a more innocuous topic to advertise, but then go into how idt can be seen as domination and then crippling the victim financially
 
2.  Carla Fisher
 We are active in the health council and find opportunities thru this to hook up at the health fairs and teen prevention initiatives. When they're doing something about behavioral, mental, and physical health, I can pop up (like a daisy!) and say something about DV. This seems to work pretty well. I've been talking to the local mental health advocates group about co-doing some kind of community presentation on PTSD. People might show up for that or depression, etc., but not the taboo subject of dv & sexual assault. : Looking for other ideas I can hook onto.
 
3.  Kkalergis
 Intriguing and challenging question. Texas did a public awareness event on Valentines Day around the theme, Love shouldnt hurt. Helped publicize healthy relationships, asking for help, services available. And stories of women who got out of an abusive relationship. One back door might be talking to the Kiwanis Club about what people at work can do if they think someones being abused, how to not be a bystander, how to support dv survivor. Id like to think on this more what back doors have you used before?
 
 
Can you suggest some ways to evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns?
 
1.  Kkalergis
 If you've provided them the toolkit, then yes, include an evaluation form in it with straightforward questions: what was most useful item, what was missing, any recommendations for change, name three things that happened as result of your using the toolkit.
 
2.  Jessica
 I guess I was thinking about evaluation more from a coalition point of view. If we create a statewide campaign and share toolkits with the programs across the state, how can we best evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign itself?
 
3.  Kkalergis
 Events tend to have two goals - one being the number of people who show up, the other being whether the message was conveyed. Numbers are easy. For the other, try to have a quick form at the event that asks where did you hear about us? What was most interesting about the event? Who else should we tell about our services etc. That can help get you feedback. If you want a more formal evaluation, hook up with your local university. People love to help out community organizations and helping evaluate your eventcampaign is a great student project.
 
 
Having a clear message is important to being understood. How is it possible to have a clear message when one audience is the group being served - family or friends of criminals, friends of victims, - that we want to know about our service but the other audience are communitiy members and donors that we want financial support from. On the one hand we benefit by increased awareness but we need the pitch for donations. How do you reach these very different audiences with different goals but keeping consistency in our purpose?
 
1.  Kkalergis
 You've said it by staying consistent with your purpose! A clear message can serve those who need you now, those who might need you, and those who want to support your efforts. For all audiences, the message is bad things happen, and were here to help. Tell them how you do that: People like to hear about people making a difference, so the message should always be, Here is where I struggled, and here is how these folks helped me. Translate donors dollars into good deeds your $100 gives this woman and child shelter for the night, your $25 gives this child a backpack. Dont muddle your message with too many words some of the most successful are simple, like Have it Your Way, When Minutes Matter, Have a smile and a coke.
 
 
I would love some ideas of public awareness events for our domestic abuse support services agency. With the economy being the way it is and the looming budget cuts in the horizon, what are some inexpensive ways to raise public awareness throughout our communities? We host a vigil each year during October and we publish bi-annual newsletters. Other than fundraisers, tabling events at local schools and fairs, and public service announcements, what else can we be doing? We're on Facebook and LinkedIn. Thanks in advance for your feedback and suggestions!
 
1.  Charcee
 Those are some interesting ideas. I can see trying out a couple of them.
 
2.  Kkalergis
 Get on trains (and cabs and buses) that are already running. Is there a community event like a rodeo, Food Festival, Farmers market, etc, that you could get a percentage of door receipts? Several merchants and banks are now linking their corporate giving to transactions -- get yourself aligned with a Target stores, etc. Some utility companies will do an insert in monthly bills, where people can donate a dollar. Do you have cable in your community? Their local channels need programming, and youd be surprised how many night owls watch these shows. If you have cabs and buses in town,(as rare as newspapers in rural areas) find out about a sign!
 
 
Any tips for managing a volunteer committee charged with coordinating a public awareness event? I'm the only employee so rely entirely on volunteers for things of this nature.
 
1.  Kkalergis
 Event management can sometimes feel like herding cats. I like to think of it as ushering cats. Each one has a specific seat and its your job to get them into it. Form the committee early on, create a plan together and assign tasks, then let people own their piece of it. Meet regularly to update each other on whats been done, what needs doing, and where more help is needed. Committees get you through this years event AND lay groundwork for next years, as experienced people grow in their roles as leaders. What sustains an event is a strong team using the same winning formula. Bringing in new ideas and people keeps it fresh and fun!
 
 
How are we going to get vital information such as Community Preparedness, Personal Safety, Fire Safety and other serious public health issues to those who are computer illiterate, unable to read and write, deaf, blind, disabled-unable to attend events and children/youth. We need a plan now for usinesses, Parnets, Schools and Faith-Based Organizations to step up to the plate and get vital information to residents through community programs, not just relying on Government alone-dont you think?
 
1.  Kkalergis
  I have done some public information work with emergency management so I know it is a challenge and this issue is one they work on all the time. If youre interested in being a part of it, your community program should contact your local emergency management office. They usually have a whole group of volunteer agencies that get asked in to help in an emergency and connecting with them before-hand is a good way to bring your concerns, energy and ideas to the effort.
 
 
What is the best way to create an event(s)on public awareness on domestic violence and sexual assault for a small rural community?/ What are some examples?
 
1.  Charcee
 We did a home tour - something not commonly done in my small community - people went nuts! Five really nice homes that folks were willing to pay to see tour and homeowners willing to open their homes. It wasn't as volunteer intensive as other thing we've done.
 
2.  Kkalergis
 Some groups have had success in doing a combined fundraiser for agencies that help both types of victims. Do make it FUN try pedal-car races, pancake flipping contests, things that bring people out, and share the proceeds and the work. Celebrate success hold a volunteer recognition day. The idea is to promote people making a difference, rather than your own cause, and you will promote your cause in the process. Take advantage of your community newspaper to provide a local angle. For example, when your state comp board does its annual report, tell the story of what was paid to your county for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, and celebrate the agencies that brought this resource to your community!
 
 
I'm the Education Coordinator for Crime Victims Assistance Center in Binghamton, NY. I'm looking into doing some significant high school outreach and awareness and really want the kids to get excited and get involved. Do you have any suggestions for outreach and awareness in this type of setting? I'd appreciate if you could give me some insight into what type of resources I may need to gather... Thanks!
 
1.  Kkalergis
 Go to the source, in this case, the school. Find an English or rhetoric or health teacher that will let you come in and truly engage students in planning the campaign. I've seen fabulous results from poster contests they've done, or flash mob events that reach kids where they are, geographically and emotionally! Or maybe it's a music teacher, and it's a GLEE type campaign! Have fun with it.
 
 
Hi Karen, I wanted to ask your thoughts on coordinating with other public agencies as well as private entities to maximize our visibility in the community on victim issues. Is this effective and if so could you give us any examples of how we could apply this to our victim assistance programs.
 
1.  Carla Fisher
 WE don't have a task force or CCR team, but we have had alot of success by being involved in the community health council and it's events - it has provided opportunities for us to promote our program in a venue that the whole community attends with little cost other than our own materials & promos.
 
2.  Kkalergis
 Hello Nancy! You know when we spend so much of our time trying to build a seamless network of services for victims, it makes sense to promote that network as one as well! Then it's the issue in the limelight, not one agency. Crime Victims' Right Week is one time we all come together, but how about doing a Thanksgiving event where you all gather and say thanks to the community for helping the network help so many people! It's a slow news time and can gain some publicity!
 
 
Where can I find a comprehensive list of online resources for hand-out at public awareness events?
 
1.  Kkalergis
 OVC's web site is rich with resources that stand the test of time. Items for CVRW are also good sources for current data - and those are available through National Center for Victims of Crime, ncvc.org
 
 
How broad or narrow can our information be? How often should we host events or public awareness? Should our events/awareness be directed towards a specific age group or should it be done as a whole?
 
1.  James
 I would like to add that there is certainly a place and need for both the broad and narrow approach. The important thing is to have a goal in mind when you coordinate the event. Also, I believe certain issues that are obvious to us, are not obvious to the general public. For example, I witness people being stalked and harassed on a daily basis in retail store, restaurants and walking down the street. However, the stalker, the victim and the public witnessing these events do not seem to realize that a serious crime is being committed in the open public. Sadly, some even find it humorous and enjoyable. Here is a situation where clear and strong public awareness events can do a lot of good.
 
2.  Kkalergis
 Ask yourself who is the public I want to be aware, and what action do I want them to take after hearing my message. Always link your message with an action, and that will help decide the who. Get out there as often as you can, and that includes sending news releases out. The media may not cover everyone you do, but it builds a relationship, and let's them know you're out there.
 
 
What are the top two or three do and do nots when creating public awareness?
 
1.  Kkalergis
 DO (1) Set a goal - what do you want to happen, (2) Engage a team in the plan and keep tasks do-able, (3)Rinse and repeat, i.e., debrief and say what you'll build on, what you'll toss. DON'T (1) take on more than you can handle first time out, (2) muddle your message and (3) miss breakfast the day of the event - be prepared for hard work and enjoy your success!
 
 
What are some of the best methods to get the word out about a community awareness event that also aims to organize action? We are planning a conversation around the issues of Human Trafficking in the US and NJ, and how we might impact it in our community.
 
1.  Kkalergis
 How does HT affect NJ? Is there a road traffickers use - have the event in an accessible place along that road. Have people representing the number of folks trafficked walking along that road. Or have a freeze mob at the mall, where the number of people trafficked per day in NJ, just freeze right there (cameras rolling of course) and have a speaker or someone handing out pamphlets to emphasize the silent struggle of these victims. Be sure to have a way for people to signup for what you want them to do. One group produced coasters to put in bars with phone numbers people could call to report human trafficking.
 
2.  Carla Fisher
 Where is your community hanging out? Our rural community is heavily into facebook. I would say figure out where YOUR community hangs out and don't forget social media - even if you're posting on the Library's page or some other popular page (ask first maybe?)
 
 
What are some of the challenges of coordinating public events that you have encountered?
 
1.  Kkalergis
 Early on I missed that there were really two audiences: the people at the event, and the people who would hear about the event through media coverage. Measures of success are different for each and plans need to accommodate both.The other lesson I learned is I cannot plan for everything. There will be a surprise - and I need to be calm, and ready to handle it. Most of these surprises no one else but me knows happens so you need to be able to maintain calm, or your volunteers and crew will lose it if they see you stress out.
 
 
I would love some ideas for some remembrance events surrounding the anniversary of 911.
 
1.  Kkalergis
 Your question made me realize its been 10 years. How to mark this will depend on whether you want to do an event as an individual or an organization, and if so, what public awareness you're trying to achieve? Think through what your message is and if there is an action, to help shape your event.
 
 
What are some ideas for ways to make webinars more interactive?
 
1.  Kkalergis
 When I started in this field, distance learning could only be done by satellite dish. This whole www thing is amazing as we get more ways to be able to talk!! It seems we need to have various means - forums like this where you can drop in, online blogs where you can drop your message and go. It's all pretty exciting for this communicator who started out thinking a fax was pretty magical.
 
 
What are new and innovative ways to promote programs and conduct outreach?
 
1.  Kkalergis
 Social networks take pass it on to a new level. Having people connect to their networks has always been an effective way to share one's beliefs, concerns, causes, and social networking certainly does that. Creating a sense of community and connection through outreach continues to be a mainstay though so whether its events, media coverage, etc, all those tools still apply.
 
 
I find a general unwillingness of many people within my community to accept that human trafficking occurs on a local level. This allows traffickers to operate with a great deal of impunity. Outreach is incredibly important. Do you have any suggestions on how to approach this hot-button topic in a area described above?
 
1.  Marie
 I have a similar concern; I'm working in Southern New Jersey. Making the issue real locally is difficult, because we don't want to scare but we do want to raise all the levels of awareness and activity that can address it. I'd be willing to talk more about it; kmarie.mainardoconnell@gmail.com
 
2.  Karen
 I am part of a county human trafficking task force and that is our biggest challenge. We put together a binder of local news stories of trafficking cases and take it to community events for visitors to look at. They are shocked.
 
3.  Kkalergis
 We create public awareness because we want a change, an action to happen. I just heard that you only need 30 of the people with you to make change happen. So look at where you have most impact, i.e. signs of change-are law enforcement and prosecutors on board? Do people know what to do if they think they see human trafficking? Has newspaper covered the issue? We can't always control what people do with our message, we can make sure it's clear, consistent, and visible. And keep at it until the change happens - and it is happening. Thanks for being a part of making it happen!
 
 
Is there any effort underway to change the vocabulary, ie. find a new term for domestic violence? Just as those who haven't been there have difficulty understanding why victims don't leave, victims have trouble recognizing themselves. That DV fool can't be me. Especially when there hasn't been any physical violence - yet. The label complicates the awareness message in a big way.
 
1.  Laura Porter
 We have many people who suffer crimes that clearly fall under our DV statutes, but don't know they can get help unless they show physical wounds. There is a huge awareness gap there. We have also discussed avoiding terminology that can be labelling or judgmental, that implies guilt or victimization, or that deters reporting. A re-branding would definitely be useful.
 
2.  Kkalergis
 I have been thinking lately about the language we use in our field, and have tried to adopt people first language, too. Saying a person who has been abused, vs a child abuse victim ...we say people are so much more than their victimization, yet our language makes them that one thing and subject to issues you raise. With women who have been abused, we also failed to recognize why they stay, and they have educated us on the complex nature of this type of abuse. Lots of room for awareness here, for us, survivors and communities!
 
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