Connecting & Activating Vermont Communities

Town Energy Committee Communications Toolkit

Introduction

Communications and outreach lie at the center of work for many Town Energy Committees. With deep local knowledge and relationships, committees are in a unique position to reach more deeply into communities than statewide or regional organizations. This toolkit is designed to support TEC’s in being more effective and efficient communicators. The following steps and related templates serve as a guide so that committees don’t need to “reinvent the wheel” every time we work to engage our communities. These tools are also intended to capture the collective wisdom of our groups and to document our resources so that they can be shared from year to year and project to project.


Steps and Tools 

  1. Develop an inventory of existing internal, local and regional communications channels/resources. This inventory will serve  as a menu of options to pick from when building outreach plans for specific events or campaigns.
  1. Create a customized outreach plan for each particular event or campaign
    1. Identify your objective(s)
    2. Develop your message(s)
    3. Identify your target audiences
    4. Establish your calendar/plan
  1. Activate your plan
  1. Evaluate results and adjust as necessary

Guides

The following are short guides for the effective use of various communications tools:  

Principles for Effective Communications »

Front Porch Forum »  

Contact Lists and Bulk Emails »

Webpages/Websites »

Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds »

Surveys for Public Engagement »

Social Media Overview »

Facebook »


Resources

VECAN GOOGLE GROUP – The Listserv is intended for Town Energy Committees to share their successes, discuss challenges, collaborate on initiatives, programs and projects and keep everyone informed of upcoming events and opportunities that will further the important work of responding to climate change in Vermont. You can subscribe to the Google Group here by clicking the “Join Group” button.

VECAN NEWSLETTER – Our monthly E-Newsletters provide resources and opportunities to support the efforts and actions of Town Energy Committees and energy leaders across the state. To be kept in the loop, click the “Join our Newsletter” button at vecan.net.

CLIMATE DISPATCH – Curious about what’s happening at the State House or in other state-level arenas and how you can make your voice heard? Watch VNRC’s Climate Dispatch, a weekly video update during the legislative session. 


This Toolkit is meant to be improved over time; if you can think of ways to make this toolkit even more useful, please email your ideas to info@vecan.net

This Toolkit was first created through a collaborative process in summer 2021. Special thanks to the VECAN Communications Toolkit design team: Jon Copans from Vermont Council on Rural Development, Bekah Kuster and Ian Hitchcock from Vermont Natural Resources Council, Sarah Brock from Vital Communities, Jack Mitchell VCRD intern and student at the University of Vermont, Samantha Lash, Ann Lawless, Catherine Crawley, Emily Boedecker, Steve Isham, John Armstrong, Rich Phillips, Rowland Davis and Ariel Arwan.