Client Spotlight: How the Orange County Conservation Corps Has Engaged with Its Community throughout the Pandemic
by Hannah Dragoo, on May 13, 2021 9:00:00 AM
Here at Presidio, we have the pleasure of working with clients in various fields, from school districts to public agencies to nonprofit organizations. These clients’ communications methods overlap in many ways, but each sector has unique needs that we help them address. For our nonprofit clients, in particular, our focus is on aiding them in communicating their missions, and the ways in which they carry out their missions, with their communities.
In this blog post, we’d like to take the time to highlight one of our nonprofit clients, the Orange County Conservation Corps (OCCC), and all the amazing ways in which they have engaged with their community during these trying times. The OCCC was recently commended by the Governor Gavin Newsom, who recognized their hard work and dedication to their community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Within this post, you will find a breakdown of their most utilized and effective methods of communication. They have used these to connect with their stakeholders, their Corpsmembers, and their broader community throughout the pandemic.
Social Media Platforms
Over the past year, the OCCC had two primary goals for all their social media posts: first, to highlight their services during COVID-19, and second, to share helpful community facts. They were able to meet these goals in ways that were suitable for each platform, as will be highlighted below.
The OCCC has deftly used their Facebook account to engage with their community during the pandemic. On the platform, they’ve posted numerous photos of Corpsmembers in action, helpful infographics updating their community on fundraising efforts, and videos that highlight their services at food distribution, test administration, and vaccine distribution centers. Facebook also allows links to be shared within posts, so it has been a great place for them to redirect followers to their website as well as their fundraising platforms.
Throughout the pandemic, the OCCC has continued to post on their Instagram as well. There, they highlight similar information to that which is posted on Facebook, so that their community can stay updated on either social media platform. Instagram not only allows them to share photos of their Corpsmembers in action, but IGTV videos as well, which serve to highlight all of their efforts to fight COVID-19. Instagram has also been the perfect platform for them to engage with a younger demographic, something that aligns with their mission to “serve young adults with jobs, training, and education that builds self-sufficiency and benefits the community through conservation-related projects.”
Twitter has also been a useful tool for the OCCC, as it allows them to “retweet” information shared by their partners and other non-profit organizations. It also provides a great place for more condensed versions of their other social media posts — perfect for quick and easy consumption. This is a more casual place for them to engage with their community, and they have made sure to take advantage of it.
Whenever the OCCC posts a video on YouTube, they then share it across all their other social media platforms. This is a great workflow for social media, as it not only provides content to all their platforms at once, but also drives views back to their YouTube channel. This is a great example of how you can utilize social media so that all your accounts support one another.
In terms of the videos the OCCC shared during the pandemic, they were able to use YouTube to highlight their mask distribution, COVID-19 test administration, PPE distribution, vaccine distribution, and partnership with the OC Food Bank. All these examples really drove home to their community their service and commitment to their constituents’ health and wellness.
The OCCC’s bimonthly newsletter is sent out, through email, to their stakeholders, Corpsmembers’ families, and community members. Within the newsletter, they always make sure to include updates on what they’ve been doing over the previous two months, as well as information on any grants they’ve received. In addition to this, they start off with a message from their CEO; this, specifically, is a great way to personalize their newsletter and help build a relationship between their leadership and community.
During the pandemic, the OCCC has also made sure to provide vital information on testing and food distribution sites, so that they could support their community. Since the OCCC has been an integral player in the distribution of COVID-19 tests, this is an excellent way for them to share their efforts to fight the pandemic and serve their community in their time of greatest need.
Overall, the newsletter is also a wonderful vehicle for condensed information. It provides an easily digestible method of communication to the community. If someone doesn’t follow the OCCC on social media, they can still stay connected through the newsletter. And, even if a reader does follow the OCCC on social media, the newsletter provides a space for them to check and see if there is any additional information they didn’t get to see in their feed.
Perhaps most notable, however, is the OCCC’s intuitive method of further distribution of their newsletter. After sending the newsletter out by email, they then post the link to their newsletter on each of their social media platforms. This allows community members who are not yet on their email list to read through and stay updated through social media, if that is their preferred communication hub.
You can view one of their most recent newsletters here.
2020 Impact Report
The OCCC also communicated effectively with their community by releasing an Impact Report for 2020. Within this document, they shared a heartfelt message from their CEO, a timeline of their achievements, and specific information on each of their service projects, as well as photos of Corpsmembers in action. In addition to these elements, the Impact Report also covered their regional economic impact, their COVID-19 impact, and testimonials from both Corpsmembers and partner organizations.
This was an absolutely amazing way for them to encapsulate all their accomplishments in a turbulent year. In 2020, the OCCC distributed over 25 million pounds of food, serving over 630,000 residents, and administered over 310,000 COVID-19 tests. They were able to share this impressive information through the Impact Report, which was then distributed through their email newsletter, social media platforms, and website. By publishing an Impact Report, the OCCC was able to spread the word about this incredible community outreach widely and effectively.
This is something all non-profit organizations should be doing each year, as it not only celebrates achievements, but provides a level of transparency — the OCCC’s community knows exactly where their time, energy, and money was going during the pandemic thanks to this Impact Report. Honesty can definitely help create a strong bond between a non-profit and its community, and this is a wonderful way to put that into action.
You can view their 2020 Impact Report here.
The OCCC has also utilized their website as a hub for all information surrounding their organization. This has made it easy for them to centralize their communication efforts for any community members who are not on their email list or following them on social media. On their site, which can be viewed here, they have links to all of their social media accounts, as well as a highlight featuring their 2020 Impact Report. You can even sign up for their newsletter with the simple click of a button, located at the bottom of every page.
In addition to this, they have sections that break down who they are as an organization, what they do for their community, and how one can get involved with their nonprofit. At the top of their site, they also have a “COVID-19 Statement,” which informs their Corpsmembers on how they can get support during these trying times.
Lastly, the OCCC also has a blog on their website, which helps their community members stay up to date with everything the nonprofit is doing to aid in the battle against COVID-19. Overall, the OCCC has done a fantastic job of staying engaged with their community through so many diverse avenues of communication, and their site is one of the most integral facets.
As you can see, the OCCC has done a stellar job of engaging with its community throughout the pandemic. This has earned them a commendation from the Governor of California and shown their community that they are truly committed to their health and wellbeing. Any non-profit organization would be well advised to follow in their footsteps and use some of these methods to communicate with their own community. Overall, our final takeaway tips from the OCCC are as follows:
- Post consistently and engage with community members through your social media platforms, in order to build a stronger connection.
- Send out a monthly or bimonthly newsletter to keep your community informed, so that they are up-to-date with everything your organization is doing.
- Publish a yearly Impact Report to encapsulate your organization’s remarkable achievements, and communicate to your community all that you have done for them.
- Maintain an official website that acts as a hub for all information relating to your organization, so that viewers can learn more about your organization and its mission.
Hannah manages newsletters, policy research, media relations, and social media content creation for Presidio’s nonprofit and school district clients. She has previously worked on communications and public relations strategies for non-profit organizations such as Together We Rise, March of Dimes, and the Newport Beach Film Festival. Hannah received her B.A. in Communication Studies: Public Relations from CSU Fullerton.