Engaging stakeholders is an important part of your program’s success and strengthen the connection with families, local leaders, library supporters, and organizational partners. Yet, the community can only really know about your great work if you tell them about it. Thoughtful communications planning and execution can generate community-wide enthusiasm about the lunch program and increase visibility of the many great programs and services offered by your library. The tips below, offered by PR & Company, can help you get started:

Planning

  • Begin by identifying your top three communication priorities. For example, do you want to secure more media coverage, communicate more effectively with stakeholders, make your messaging more effective, etc.?
  • Who are the top three audiences you want to communicate with more effectively?
  • What are the top three events, activities, or achievements you want to highlight most effectively?
  • What are you doing that is new and different?
  • Who is responsible for communications? What is one thing you can do once a week, as a team, to advance your three communication priorities?

Engaging Your Stakeholders

  • Brainstorm the individuals you’d like to engage with your library meals program and build relationships with this summer.
  • For each person, identify the most relevant activities or events to invite them to engage them with. Think about what they would likely find most appealing about your program.
  • Make the ask: invite them to participate and frame the invitation according to their interests.
  • Make their participation worth their while: prepare compelling information to share with each person, plan for them to observe or experience a program or activity, and remember to write a thank you note!
  • Create a list of talking points to bring up when talking with your stakeholders. Ensure that your talking points are tailored to each person’s interests and relationship with the library.
  • Share your successes: let stakeholders know about what you’re achieving this summer; tell engaging stories using photos as well as words and numbers; and let stakeholders know about the media coverage you’re receiving.

Suggestions for Raising Awareness of Your Program

  • Send out press releases, and ensure that the information you provide is engaging, catchy, brief, and includes one or two good quotes that journalists can use.
  • Send out pitches to newspapers, radio, tv, and blogs. Make sure your pitch is short, succinct, and includes a newsworthy hook.
  • Create a library meals blog or include library meals entries in a more general library blog. Plan some blogging topics ahead of time so you always have something to write about and remembers to share engaging stories and photos from the summer.
  • Twitter and Facebook also provide opportunities to share the highlights from your program and provide real-time information about lunchtime programming (or even popular menu items).

Sample flyers from:
Glen Avon Regional Library, Riverside County Library System: Glen Avon flyer 2016
Fresno County Public Library: Fresno flyer 2013
Sacramento Public Library: and Sacramento flyer 2013

Sharing Media Coverage

  • Once you start getting media coverage, post links to the stories on your website, blog, Facebook page, on twitter.