Action Media to CDCs: "There's a better way to communicate your message."

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September 17, 2009

 Senator Paul Wellstone once said, “We all do better when we all do better”. According to Action Media, if CDCs want to engage the general public, then they need to do a better job of convincing people that Wellstone was right.

As part of its ongoing Community Development Innovation Forum and in conjunction with MACDC, LISC sponsored a communications workshop run by Dick Brooks and Michael Goldberg from Action Media on September 17, 2009. With nearly 60 staff members from Boston’s community development field in attendance, the event was a tremendous success.

The workshop, entitled “Telling Our Story: Building support for building better places,” encouraged CDCs to re-evaluate the way that they communicate their work. According to Action Media, most CDCs describe their work as supporting distressed communities and helping low income individuals. Instead, CDCs should stress that their work helps all members of a community, not just those in need. Brooks and Goldberg encouraged CDCs to frame their message around shared values, notably opportunity, prosperity, connection, public participation and fairness. In doing so, they would evoke a more accurate and more engaging description of their initiatives and their work would appeal to a broader audience.

Following the presentation in the morning, participants split into groups and discussed a specific communication task that they had to complete in the near future. In these small discussion groups, participants brainstormed about how they could communicate their message to someone outside of the community development field. Brooks and Goldberg concluded the workshop by encouraging CDCs to talk less about helping the needy and more about the work that they do to connect people to opportunities, residents to neighborhoods and communities to each other.

To learn more about the Community Development Innovation Forum, click here.


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