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Community engagement and school districts

Here is an excerpt from a recent presentation to a group of communicators from state school board associations from around the country.

I’ve been in public relations and school PR for 22 years. For many years, I thought I was doing community engagement when all I was really doing was this:

Dog and Pony
A “dog and pony” show is not community engagement. True community engagement happens when the public is recruited to solve a problem or collaborate on a discovery. You can’t DO engagement just for the sake of engagement. Its root goal is public permission for meaningful change.
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How transparent is your school district?

How transparent is your organization? What grade would it get?

No, it’s not a hypothetical question.

The Illinois Policy Institute, a watchdog organization, is conducting a transparency audit of school districts, township governments, municipalities and other taxing bodies and reporting its findings online and in the media. The Institute uses a 10-point transparency checklist, a framework of sorts to gauge government openness.
I first learned of the Institute at a recent Illinois Chapter/National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) meeting.


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Twitter for your schools

In its six years, Twitter has 140 million users and 340 million tweets have been posted. With Twitter’s sixth anniversary, I thought I’d explore the different ways school districts can use Twitter. For starters, you need to define the function of your twitter account.

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Infusing Strategy in Communication Planning and Advising

Last week, I had the privilege of presenting to a group of public relations and communications colleagues with the Illinois Chapter/National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA). The presentation was on Infusing Strategy in Communication Planning and Advising. The audience -- colleagues in school communications -- were wonderful and had great questions. As always, I get a lot of inspiration and insights from my INSPRA friends. Special thanks for Denise Mattson, special assistant, office of the president, DePaul University, for joining me and talking about how she shepherded the communications of the university’s strategic plan to a very diverse internal audience. I thought I’d post the deck from the powerpoint.

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Here Comes Everybody: How to Support Fundraising with Social Media

I presented yesterday at the Illinois Chapter/National School Public Relations conference for school foundations with esteemed colleague and former development executive Suzyn Price. I thought I’d share a little of what we covered on “Here Comes Everybody:* How to Build and Steward Relationships and Support Fundraising with Social Media.” 
* a reference to Clay Shirky’s book of the same title.

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