February 15, 2018

4 Ways to Build Understanding in Challenging Times

How do you build understanding for your organization’s work or point of view in a polarized society? Take community relations seriously and continually work to build good will. The relationships you create magnify your voice to the community and improve your ability to hear early warnings of trouble.

Follow these four tips to make community relations flourish:

  1. Make friends before you need them. Don’t wait until the next fundraiser, levy or crisis. Establish your organization as a good community partner now. Join clubs, attend events, have coffee with other leaders. Your friends “get you” and will share your story with others.
  2. Understand your community. What creates good will downtown may elicit hostility in suburbia. Researchfrom stakeholder interviews to quantitative surveyshelps uncover currents of public opinion. Listening is smart and shows you care.
  3. Inform, don’t advocate. Focus on facts, not hyperbole. People are looking for credible experts; be that expert (or find that expert within your organization). Build trust by sharing balanced information and making the complex more understandable, as JayRay did in this campaign
  4. Be a leader. To be a voice worth listening to, stand up for worthy causes other than your own that are consistent with your organization’s mission. Companies like Patagonia and REI champion the environment. They’re seen as leaders and their voices carry weight.

How have you created deeper connections with your community? Let us know! Tweet to @JayRayAdsPR