Community organizations, often staffed by volunteers, have few staff or financial resources to commit to technology. Organizing meetings, keeping in contact with volunteers, and, of course, fundraising takes an enormous amount of time and energy – especially in rural America where geographic distance, lack of resources, and other chronic challenges raise the bar for change-making.
Many of us have witnessed consolidation of traditional media during the last twenty years, which obliterates local newspapers and radio stations that have provided important venues of civic dialogue in the past. This guide is designed to help you learn, and in turn be able to teach, how developing a communication strategy can help organizations of all sizes make use of low-cost media tools. Effective communication helps accomplish your organization's work and build movements for change whether working at a local, regional, or national level.
Community development and organizing groups ask, "Who will speak out about our communities' collective problems?" And "How can we work together to define and address the barriers that prevent rural communities from enjoying access to health care, a safe environment, new technology, and economic development?"
An important step in addressing these questions is to develop and use effective communication strategies. We hope this guide will help you bring greater and more effective communication capacity to your work by taking full advantage of low-cost technology.
Nick Szuberla and Mark Kidd, Appalshop