KNOWING YOUR SOURCES…for unit communications!
Need help? Have questions? Email Rob Sumner, Colonial’s Vice Chair of Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When it comes to getting the word out about your unit, its activities and its achievements, the logical choice is to send emails. While that is one effective means of getting your message out to parents and leaders, have you considered…
The Colonial District publishes a monthly newsletter, The Colonial Crier. While the Crier regularly includes information from the Council, it is also the place to show off the great news coming from your unit. Information about advancement, achievements, and service projects are always welcome.
Photos of your units in action are always welcome, too. And, if you have a unit newsletter, please send it to the District too so we can help amplify your activities.
Your photos and other information are all welcome! Please send them to Rob Sumner, Colonial’s Vice Chair for Communications at email@example.com.
YOUR CHARTER ORGANIZATION
Scouting would not be possible without our charter organizations. Churches, parent-teacher associations, and other organizations provide the support needed for our youth to have the meaningful Scouting experiences. But have you told your charter organization what it is your unit is doing? Does it publish a newsletter or other mailing? Do they have a social media platform? What about a quarterly or annual report?
Consider reaching out to you charter organization with information about the good work your unit is doing, especially any service projects you complete for your charter organization. Scouting offers significant value to our youth, and we should show that value to our charter organizations.
OUR LOCAL PAPERS
Given our proximity to the nation’s capital, local news is regularly national news and, in many cases, world news. This can make getting coverage from the Washington Post or other publications difficult. But the local newspapers publishing within the Colonial District are eager for your stories and, most importantly, your photos. Consider using one of the attached template releases to promote your unit to the local papers. Linked below are some press release templates that you may find helpful for getting the word out about your unit. You can personalize each template to use when engaging with local media outlets.
Colonial’s local papers
(Note: Some publications share the same email address due to their corporate ownership.)
Alexandrianews.org — firstname.lastname@example.org
The Alexandria Gazette Packet — email@example.com
The Alexandria Patch – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Alexandria Times — email@example.com
Fort Hunt Herald — firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mount Vernon Gazette — email@example.com
The Springfield Times — firstname.lastname@example.org
The Zebra – Mary Wadland — email@example.com
SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS…
COMMUNICATING WITH PARENTS….
If you have a unit newsletter, consider using descriptive subject lines to tease or preview your content. For example, you may use, “March 12 Camping Trip, March 23 All Pack Meeting, Friends of Scouting.” Descriptive subject lines that go beyond “Troop 123 Newsletter” draws your reader in and will help your engagement rates
Format your emails so parents can easily scan the message for content most relevant to their Scout. Bold headlines in larger fonts will make it easy for parents to focus on what is most important. Large blocks of text will not draw your readers attention and they may miss important information.
Send meeting reminders the day before or the day of the meeting. Remember, some parents use their work email for Scouting and they may not check those on the weekends.
Collect parents’ cell phone numbers so you can send last minute, urgent alerts. For example, if you have to cancel a meeting or change its location. Be careful to not overuse this option.
For unit committee calls and meetings, send email invitations with call-in information and send text reminders the day of the call. This will give your leaders all the information in one calendar entry for quick reference.
USING SOCIAL MEDIA…
First, make sure you read BSA’s Social Media Guidelines. It is important that your unit social media platforms adhere to these guidelines. Those guidelines can be found here online.
It is very challenging to interact with Scouts on social media. Instead, think of social media as a way to spread the word about Scouting to reach parents AND maybe a few scouts. Joanna does NOT recommend Twitter for units, it is too chatty.
Joanna does recommend Instagram and Facebook. Facebook is for communicating with parents, sharing photos, and videos. Instagram is for sharing photos. If your unit has Facebook or Instagram, please like and follow the Colonial District to help grow our audiences. Account handles are below.
On Instagram, it is all about the #hashtags, the photos, and the filters. Using hashtags, such as #ScoutMeIn, #Scouting, #camping, #hiking, will help spread the reach of your content. Also, please use the hashtag #MyNCAC as that will help promote content within the National Capital Area Council.
Downloadable resources for units:
Handout – Resources for Unit Communications
Handout – Tips for Social Media
Template Press Release – Arrow of Light or other award
Template Press Release – Service Project
Template Press Release – Eagle Rank