Maintaining good relations with the community usually entails management and employees becoming involved in and contributing to local organizations and activities. In addition, the organization may communicate with the community in other ways. As a communicator, you will probably produce and distribute informational material such as in-house publications, as well as arrange meetings with community leaders.

In conducting community relations programs, you will need to develop contact lists of journalists, community leaders and organizations. The media contacts list should include the type and size of audience reached by each media outlet in the community, the type of material used by each outlet, the name and title of appropriate editors who handle organizational news, and deadlines. The list of community and organizational leaders should be equally thorough. It should include the name, title, affiliation, address and telephone number of all important community leaders.

Actions and special events most often associated with community relations include an organizational open house and tour of facilities, sponsorship of special community events or projects, contribution of funds to community organizations or causes, meetings with community leaders, and participation of management and other personnel in volunteer community activities.

Research for community relations assesses the organization's reputation and its existing and potential problems with the community. Programming concentrates on organizational involvement with the community. It is also important for the organization to develop an attractive and informative community-oriented Web site. If you don't have any experience in Web design, I highly recommend that you take a course in Web publishing. This course can provide you with basic skills in Web design and the tools to design and maintain your company's Web site.

Copywright 2001, Sheila E. Fridman, Gainesville, Fla.
This site was last updated Wednesday, April 19, 2001.
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