Communications

Build Your Program

Communications

Use visually appealing and carefully written products—brochures, flyers, business cards, newsletters, postcards—and effective media outreach to establish your program’s brand in the community. They are the calling cards program staff can distribute at local events or locations. 
Key considerations are:

  • Create products to suit the audience. Potential funders, community partners, and participants have different information needs and require tailored messages.
  • Make publications and other products available in both English and Spanish, or other languages spoken by large numbers of the target population. Make sure translations are accurate and convey the concepts as intended.
  • Keep the writing simple. Use short sentences.
  • Use language that is easily understandable. A good rule of thumb is to write for a 6th grade or lower reading level and limit the use of words with three or more syllables.32
  • Use attractive photos and colors.
  • Be sure that people in the photos represent the target audience. Also make sure the program has permission to use images.
  • Do not clutter the page. Use words and images sparingly and leave adequate white space.
  • Remember that printed materials are primarily a tool to start a conversation with a possible funder or participant. Limit the information in brochures or other publications to the essentials. Don’t try to tell them everything there is to know about the program.

“I don’t ask partner agencies to give a father my brochure in the hope that he [the father] will call me. Rather, I ask the partner agency to describe the program, give the father the brochure, and ask, ‘Is it OK if I have the fatherhood program call you?’ so gaining the father’s passive consent for me to get in touch.” 
—Barry McIntosh, Young Fathers of Santa Fe

One-to-one conversation is a powerful way to build awareness about a program. If brochures are left at a particular location, make sure people there can describe the program’s services effectively. For example, when leaving products at a barbershop, the barber should be able to describe briefly the benefits of the program. Or, staff might be assigned to a partner location—for example, a weekly visit to a WIC program office—to combine personal contact with offering literature and information.