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Communications Task Force

November 13, 2019

PRESENT: Chair Jennifer Tilton Flood, Commissioner David Burns, Commissioner Maria Staples, Bryan Roche, Volunteer Maine staff

The Communications Task Force has met for its monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 13, 2019. The Task Force has discussed during their regularly scheduled meeting the following:

  1. Legislative actions: A.) Accelerated Maine Residency for AmeriCorps program members and B.) tax-exempt status for AmeriCorps education awards
  2. Recruitment briefing
  3. Discussions on adding a third logo variation to the approved Volunteer Maine brand
  4. Looking forward to December: Communications plan and editorial calendar for 2020

Chair Jenifer Tilton Flood convenes the meeting and informs the Task Force that two new members have been added to the group: new Commissioner Julia Fiori and Maine Department of Education (DOE) Chief of Staff Jessica Nixon, who has been chosen as the DOE’s representative to the Commission.

Legislative actions: Accelerated Maine residency for AmeriCorps program members and tax-exempt status for AmeriCorps education awards

Chair Tilton Flood invites Bryan Roche to explain two concepts for legislation that have been discussed by Volunteer Maine Executive Director Maryalice Crofton: Accelerated Maine residency for AmeriCorps program members and tax-exempt status for AmeriCorps education awards. Roche goes on to mention that these are very early, conceptual discussions and that the goal of today’s Task Force discussion is to decide if we should continue pursuing each idea.

Chair Tilton Flood goes on to say that both proposals will require a fiscal note to describe the anticipated fiscal impact. Chair Tilton Flood then opens the floor for discussion.

Commissioner David Burns asks for clarification on the status of each proposal to better understand if they are still concepts or if they are already Legislative Documents. Chair Tilton Flood confirms to Commissioner Burns that each proposal is still a concept.

Commissioner Burns asks if any proposal would be exclusive to AmeriCorps service members or would it be expanded to include other educational entities. Roche explains that, right now, we are only talking AmeriCorps program members, but it may serve us well to explore involving additional educational entities.

Chair Tilton Flood asks if the Task Force would like to continue discussion, and if so, should these concepts be brought to the full Commission for discussion. Commissioner Burns and Commissioner Maria Staples say they would like to continue discussions, and they should continue with the input of the full Commission. Commissioner Burns suggests that a written explanation of each concept should be distributed to Commissioners prior to the meeting.

Recruitment briefing: Ongoing activity

Chair Tilton Flood invites Roche to provide an update on ongoing AmeriCorps program member recruiting. Roche shares the following:

  • Roche has engaged the Maine Association of Broadcasters (MAB) to renew the public service announcement (PSA) contract. Roche informs the group that the Commission intends to spend $30,000 for five months of airtime, with $21,000 of that to be focused on radio advertisements and $9,000 to be focused on television. The funds will be matched three-to-one by MAB, which means the Commission will be provided with a total of $90,000 of airtime for the five month run. Roche has also begun work to identify any current PSAs that need to be updated to reflect the new identity of the commission, Volunteer Maine. The 2020 agreement begins in January.
  • Roche informs the Task Force that a print advertisement has been bought and produced for the 2020 Maine Principals Association High School Basketball tournament as an avenue to reach high school seniors and their families. Commissioner Staples notes that she likes the idea of utilizing this avenue for recruitment. ADDENDUM 11/18/19: Roche would also like to add that the advertisement will also be included in the 2019 MPA High School Football Championships program.
  • On social and digital media efforts, Roche shares that a social media campaign is being developed and that he is investigating best ways to utilize branded recruitment images and media provided by the Corporation of National and Community Service for Maine recruitment purposes.

Discussions on adding a third logo variation to the approved Volunteer Maine brand

Chair Tilton Flood then shifts the conversation to a proposed third logo variation to the already approved Volunteer Maine brand. Chair Tilton Flood invites Roche to explain the design, which she distributed to Task Force members prior to the meeting.

Roche discusses the proposed third logo variation, a circular logo, and the reason why it is being proposed. Roche mentions that he has heard from program staff and Volunteer Maine staff that the two current variations do not provide enough design flexibility for certain situations, such as letterhead and use in presentations. In an effort to assist both program and Commission staff, the addition of the circular logo to the brand toolkit is proposed.

Commissioner Burns shares concerns that the inclusion of a third logo variation would not be consistent with the Commission’s goal of creating one identifiable logo to increase brand recognition. Chair Tilton Flood proposes that the discussion is tabled and brought to the full Commission during the December 2019 meeting.

Looking forward to December: Communications plan and editorial calendar for 2020

Before adjourning the meeting, Chair Tilton Flood informs the Task Force that the next meeting will be Wednesday, December 11 from 4-5 p.m. via teleconference. Chair Tilton Flood asks Roche to provide notes on the discussed legislative concepts in advance of the December meeting. Chair Tilton Flood closes by mentioning that items to be discussed in the December meeting include plans for a year-long communication plan and editorial calendar.

Chair Tilton Flood thanks the Task Force for their participation, and adjourns the meeting.