Community outreach serves two basic purposes: to provide information and provide services. Outreach comes in different forms to serve different purposes. Churches may do outreach to inform others about their ministries. Drop-in centres may provide outreach to homeless and at-risk communities to provide resources and hand out food. In addition, a non-profit agency may conduct outreach to let community leaders know what they have to offer. Community outreach should reflect the needs of the population served to ensure success.
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Talk to Key Figures
For community outreach to be successful, you must ensure that key figures in the community know what you offer. For example, if your organisation provides services to at-risk youth, meet with school principals, school counsellors and other area youth-serving agencies to let them know how you can help them. Do not hesitate to announce during a chamber of commerce or Kiwanis meeting how your organisation will benefit the community and how others can help.
Consider sending postcards to every address in your city or service area to get the word out about your organisation. Hire a professional sales lead company in order to obtain mailing lists to "saturate" a neighbourhood, target new area homeowners, or reach area apartment complexes, businesses and local property owners. Professional sales lead companies can even provide targeted lists to reach members of the community who have medical conditions, are recent high school or college graduates or meet other specific criteria. Churches often mail postcards to community members to invite them to Christmas or Easter services or to let them know about any special ministries offered.
Host a Fair
Sponsor and host a fair that helps the community and makes your organisation better known. Fair ideas include craft fairs, family fairs with games, cultural fairs that sell international foods or fairs that provide important information about community resources.
Host a free movie night in a large area where participants can comfortably sit, like in an auditorium. Advertise the event to the community with posters hung in area business' windows. Hand out informational cards to all those who participate as they enter or leave the movie. Also, show a commercial about your organisation and outline how it can help the community before the movie starts. If budget allows, buy all the seats at a local theatre and offer participants the chance to see a new movie free of charge, and ask the theatre to show a video or slideshow about your organisation before the movie starts.
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