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Communications Task Force

January 9, 2017

PRESENT: Ed Barrett, Adam Lacher, Kirsten Brewer, Mandela Gardner, Rob Liscord, Maryalice Crofton, Carol Rancourt

Monday items for meeting:  
-- Acknowledge new public members: Adam Lacher able to join. Stefanie Mojonnier unable to attend today. 

-- Need a chair for this group!! No one on the call volunteered but there was a request for a role description for a chair. Maryalice will draft something for Exec Committee to review and make it a role description that covers all task forces. 

-- New volunteer video. Thanks to Ross Cunningham (TF member), the raw footage from interviews of volunteer managers has been transformed into the 2017 video. Task Force members were sent the link so they could review. Much appreciation to Ross for the time and expertise. 

-- National Service program meetings with Members of Congress. The formats used in the past were described and the merits of having a few people go to their offices versus having programs gathered for larger encounter were discussed. It may depend on what is the “ask” in the meeting. The policy or funding requests cannot be made in these meetings because all program people (volunteers and staff) are restricted by law. The policy/funding requests are handled through Commissioner meetings with Members of Congress and policy advisors. These happen both in the district and in DC. These program meetings are a combination of “report to the funder” and update on what has changed since 2013 (new grants, changed activities, different service locations, etc.). 

The request for MOCs to come to a particular place to see all the programs working in a particular geographic area is a short cut for multiple site visits. Maryalice will dig out the format outline used in 2013 and provide to task force members. It used a gallery walk arrangement and each station was a different program with representatives of staff, national service participants, and service beneficiaries. Typically the MOC brings the policy person along. 

While consideration of the format continues, it is important to get on calendars. Maryalice will get the house and senate calendars for task force members. Ross has already agreed to work on getting time on Poliquin’s schedule. The following volunteered to work on the rest: Rancourt – King; Liscord – Pingree; Gardner – Collins. 

-- Update on branding education for programs. Michael and Kirsten have started a 6 month process that is inserted into the monthly tech assistance meeting with grantees. Katrina Crowell, formerly of Flyte New Media and now at Cuddledown, has offered to do some pro bono training for all program staff. Topic is branding and messaging. Engaging grantee staff started last week. The target for an educational presentation is February. Programs are well focused on recruitment but not strong on developing a reputation locally for the AmeriCorps brand. Having that reputation influences partnerships, community value and opinions, and who wants to be associated. 

**Task Force members were asked which items should be held over. The agenda for this month is substantial and cannot be covered in an hour. They asked for an update on Service Enterprise and the balance to be held over.**

-- Maine Service Enterprise promotion update.

Kirsten Brewer reported she is working on back end of VolunteerMaine site to build out the Service Enterprise section. Sent out draft pages to trainers who are providing feedback. Talked to a trainer, Jason Ketterick of UW York County, for his perspective. The discussion yielded material that can be used as testimonials. Michelle Surdoval did the same. It was noted that Service Enterprise has lots of benefits but have to be honest about what process really involves. Not easy for an agency to change its culture. 

-- Review of MAB Public Education Program using the 2015 final report. (2016 will not be available until late January) 
-- Discussion of analytics from MCCS 2 websites and Facebook (data posted for review)
-- Maine Alumni Outreach Network. What's been created, enlarging the network, need volunteer coordinator 
-- Governor's Service Awards. Need core 1-2 people to assist with events and recruiting  non-Commission committee members.
-- Update on Congressional delegation planning for meetings. 
-- Branding briefing for whole Commission. Can PIE help identify a professional to donate time for this? It is a one-time educational piece. 
-- Heads up on legislative issues and discussion of whether we need to subdivide into public policy and public education this year. The task force does so when we have two equally strong agendas.

Members are asked to be in touch about the scheduling and other issues before the next meeting.
Monday, 13 Feb 2017, 3 pm