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Communications Task Force

May 8, 2017

The meeting opened at 3pm by conference call.

Present: Ed Barrett, Mandela Gardner, Dave Burns, Carol Rancourt, Rob Liscord, Maryalice Crofton

Discussion items:  

  • Orientation to Task Force
  • What has been done this year (Sept to now)
  • AmeriCorps branding -- since we have so many new people, take the opportunity to do brand check 
  • Public policy prep

 Slides were used to orient members and review what has been accomplished. PDF version of presentation is HERE.

 General discussion after slide presentation:  
It was noted that the message focus assigned to the task force in the strategic plan has not been addressed. The radio public service announcements have been recruitment for Senior Corps and AmeriCorps plus general promotion of . Need to re-focus and address the strategic plan items.

The topic of Commission brand needs to remain on the list of open items. The new model for strategic planning includes a look at brand and messaging. It would be premature for the task force to continue its work.

The postponement of work on Commission brand creates opening for looking at AmeriCorps brand. Dave reported he has been asking local people and legislators. Most do not know anything about AmeriCorps; some recognize the logo but do not know what it stands for.

Carol pointed out that CNCS has not done a good job of branding its programs. There are too many names and some local programs don’t even use the National Service name. It is hard to explain without confusing the public.

Mandela agreed to do an informal test of the logo with some people in his network.

It was acknowledged that the grantees are so focused on recruitment they do not work on branding. This is all the more reason for PIE to tackle this. It could inform grantees’ public outreach.

Dave asked where the brochures were distributed. He offered to work with Maryalice offline to have the program one delivered to each legislator. It will be useful for them to have something in hand to share with constituents.

PIE members were asked for their guidance for Kaira Esgate when she addresses the Commission. The responses – update on federal landscape and issues; examples of successful branding campaigns by other commissions; clarity on priorities ASC is pursuing on behalf of states; the likelihood of being able to pare down the “multi-layer, bureaucratic” stuff CNCS has developed and requires of grant applicants; observations on what other states are surfacing as priorities given the cross-cutting issues are likely to show up as federal interests.

It was noted that PIE is coming into a quieter time of year. As the slide review showed, there was a lot accomplished since the 2016 retreat. Carol is still working on setting up a meeting with Senator King’s staff. Rep. Poliquin’s staff are also being nudged routinely.

The meeting wrapped up at 4 pm.