by Ron Milliman
(Editor's Note: Ron Milliman is the chairman of the public relations committee.)
The objective of this article is to share with all of you the overriding strategy that guides the ACB PR committee, and the many resources the committee has created that are available to all of our affiliates and chapters. These resources, including our personal consultation, are completely free. Just ask, and you shall receive!
The overriding strategy this committee has adopted and uses as its guiding light is as follows.
To compete with other organizations with much larger budgets, the PR committee seeks to empower our numerous affiliates and chapters by providing the tools and resources they need to launch and sustain effective marketing and public relations efforts within their respective geographic target market areas.
In fulfillment of this strategy, the PR committee has created and provides the following tools and resources free of charge to our ACB affiliates and chapters:
- An extensive set of professionally created public service announcements (PSAs) that are available for their use from www.acb.org, or upon request from our national office or from the chair of the PR Committee;
- The Press Release Handbook for ACB Affiliates and Chapters, which includes: Chapter One: The Magic of the Press Release; Chapter Two: Writing Press Releases the Media Will Love; Chapter Three: Getting Your Press Release Distributed; and Chapter Four: Recognizing Press Release Opportunities;
- The PSA Handbook for ACB Affiliates and Chapters, which includes: Chapter 1: What Is A PSA; Chapter 2: Audio Recording at Home; Chapter 3: Creating a Video PSA; Chapter 4: Getting Your PSA Distributed; Appendix A: Sources for Audio and Video Files That You Can Use; and Appendix B: Sample Media Release Form;
- The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook for ACB Affiliates and Chapters, which includes: Chapter One: Getting Started: Planning, Developing and Launching Your Guerrilla Marketing Campaign; Chapter Two: Free Bulletin Boards and Calendar Listings; Chapter Three: Free Placement of Flyers and Brochures; Chapter Four: Creating Effective Media Releases; and Chapter Five: How to Develop Your PSA Campaign;
- White paper entitled "Are You a Senior Citizen Struggling with Vision Loss?";
- White paper entitled "Are You the Parents of a Blind Child?";
- White paper entitled "Creating a Media Kit for Your ACB Affiliate or Chapter";
- The PR committee's quarterly open conference calls that focus on specific marketing and PR-related topics that are open to all of our members;
- Marketing and PR-related articles, like this one, published in "The ACB Braille Forum"; and
- Personal consultation available to all affiliates and chapters from the PR committee.
Again, all of these tools and resources are readily available free of charge from the ACB web site, or our ACB national office, from the PR committee, or from me, chair of the PR committee: Dr. Ron Milliman, phone (270) 782-9325, or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, when the question comes up about marketing and PR efforts in your monthly meetings or during your affiliate conventions, you can share with your members the availability of these tools and resources. If our ACB affiliates and chapters do their part in their geographic target market areas, we will be covered in all of our states and in many areas within each state. Collectively, we can be far more effective than ACB national can be with its extremely limited budget. To achieve the same results from our national office that our affiliates and chapters can achieve by using the tools and resources our committee provides would require a national marketing and PR budget in the millions of dollars, money that we simply do not have. So, we urge all of our ACB affiliates and chapters to obtain copies of the materials described in this article, read them, and use the strategies and tactics covered. It will allow you to reach out and bring in new members, and at the same time educate the general public, letting people know we are not a bunch of poor, helpless blind people, but we are much like they are, leading very normal lives, raising families, going to work and facing many of the same life challenges as they are in their lives.