Fresh on the heels of a holiday designed to showcase our love for others (yes, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day), let’s take think about how we can carry that love forward into other aspects of life and business.
Your local chapter’s first Gift of Communication event will be Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 11:30 to 1 at the Hughes Education Center on North Washington. Come for lunch and a discussion with a local nonprofit that is seeking ways to better connect its services with those who need them.
Read the summary below. Put your thinking caps on. Come to the event and share your ideas with a great organization that’s eager to hear them.
~ Erin Huntimer, your board president
Missouri River Educational Cooperative
Lyle Krueger, executive director
The Missouri River Educational Cooperative (MREC) is one of eight Regional Educational Associations (REA) in North Dakota. We are comprised of 37 School Districts, 3 Cooperating Partners, and 8 collaborating partners. We provide support and services for 60 elementary schools and 44 secondary schools.
Mission: To provide sustainable action focused solutions which educate, inform, and inspire our member districts.
Vision: To become a leading educational organization that strengthens member districts in preparing all children to become responsible, active, participating citizens of society
• Branding – clearly communicating who they are & what they do to their target audience(s)
• Reaching diverse target audiences – district superintendents, teachers, parents
• Effectively using existing communication channels
The run-down directly from Lyle:
“One of our biggest challenges is simply people knowing who were are and what we do. We are a Regional Education Association (REA). When most people hear of an “REA,” their first thought goes to “Rural Electric Association.” Same goes with MREC, they hear MREC they think “electric cooperative.” Getting past that obstacle.
“Additionally, we do a variety of things/services, so getting people to realize what we do, for whom, and who we impact, is a struggle. This struggle has multiple levels because we have several target audiences based on the work we do. For example, our member district superintendents know the services we can provide. However, teachers may only think of us providing large professional learning events and may not know that we have specific ways we can do to help them at their district. Parents in Bismarck-Mandan may only know us for the Extended School Program (afterschool program; we are not BLAST) if their child attends one of the schools we serve, but they don’t realize we provide other online course offerings for Career and Technical Education for high school students or that we work with businesses/colleges to develop and host college/career symposiums.
“Lastly, I am trying to better organize the services our member school districts can utilize in a manner that provides them with enough information to be informed and know how to find us, but not a full page narrative report trying to explain it (which they won’t read!). We know what we do, districts who use our services understand, but how do we get others to understand our services and/or access them? What strategies are best to inform them of the various services?
“We have recently updated our website (www.mrecnd.org) to make it more user friendly. We also try tying our newsletter article/information to go back to our website to drive traffic. We send out that newsletter twice a month to our districts and began pushing a lot more info out on our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/mrecnd/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/mrecnd) accounts too.”