Contacting Media and Legislators

What is newsworthy?
  • The story must revolve around your AmeriCorps project and/or AmeriCorps service term.
  • Does the event celebrate a national service day or involve a service project?
  • Does your project directly involve community volunteers?
  • What will you and the volunteers be doing to help the local community?
  • What population of the local community does your project impact (e.g. youth, seniors, environmental habitat)?

 

Key tips:
  • Plan ahead and give reporters at least two weeks’ lead time of your event! They want to report the news as it’s happening, not afterwards – and they need time to schedule it in.
  • A picture says a thousand words – make sure you get some good ones of the “action” taking place (planting trees, tutoring to children, etc).
  • Identify yourself (if a member) or your project (if a supervisor) as AmeriCorps: Washington Service Corps AmeriCorps or AmeriCorps serving in the Washington Reading Corps program.
  • While in service as an AmeriCorps member, you cannot lobby or advocate. Click here to learn the difference between educating and lobbying.

 

What do you do now?

Step 1.  Let us know! Inform your WSC program coordinator with the details, and we’ll help spread the word through our online network.

Step 2.  Contact the local legislators in your area, as well as your city’s mayor and council members; inform them of the positive impact your AmeriCorps project is having on the community they represent, and invite them to your event.

Step 3.  Contact your local media outlets like news channels, newspapers and radio stations (including local colleges and relevant “freebie” periodicals). Also utilize your organization’s website and social media channels.

Washington State:   major newspapers  |  radio stations  |  tv news stations

Step 4.  We might be able to help you contact local news media. If you’d like our assistance, fill out the project-event form and send to your WSC program coordinator.

Step 5.  Networking is key!  Inform local organizations whose goals are the same as the organization you serve with. You might be able to team up and create an even-bigger event.

Step 6.  Pictures of the event are a great marketing tool – but don’t forget the photo release form! Anyone in the picture who is not a current AmeriCorps member or elected official will need to sign a form.

Step 7.  At the end of each quarter, your supervisors will submit your list of any visits with legislators, elected officials and the media in the WSC quarterly reporting system.

 

 Don’t forget!
  •  Your “elevator” speech! This 1-minute prepared speech includes identifying yourself or the project as AmeriCorps, plus the organization you’re serving with and the service you’re providing in the community.
  • Wear your WSC/AmeriCorps gear!
  • Again, there is a big difference between educating and lobbying!  AmeriCorps members cannot lobby elected officials on behalf of a cause or an organization – unless the member is on their own time and not stating or giving the perception that they’re representing AmeriCorps – including wearing AmeriCorps gear.  Click here to learn more.