In print

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The internet may have taken over from paper communications in many ways, but paper communications are still relevant and worth considering, especially in order to reach out to sections of the community who have a limited online presence.

Click on the ideas below for practical suggestions and detailed case studies.

Newsletters and leaflets

Distributing paper copies of your group’s newsletter can help to engage those who don’t tend to use computers or simply prefer reading a hard copy. Leafleting can also help to promote your group or particular projects or events, and can work well in conjunction with visiting householders door-to-door.

Content and design. While the content of your paper newsletter can be taken from your e-newsletter, it is likely that some work will need to be done on the design to make it eye-catching. Remember that people tend to read headlines and photos breaking up the text will make it more readable. Leaflets are likely to work best to promote your project at critical stages, for example when you are trying to recruit group members or participants, or to publicise a planning application. As well as photos, quotes from people who have had involvement in the project can help to make your group look more friendly, active and engaging.

Delivery. Recruiting volunteers to hand deliver newsletters and leaflets will save you money on postage.

External newsletters. Approaching other community groups or local organisations that send out regular newsletters can enable you to reach new audiences, whilst saving you the time, money and resources involved with producing and distributing your own newsletter. A quick internet search and asking your connections will enable you to draw up a list of local newsletters, and then all it takes is to send a friendly email with a piece of text and a high resolution photo.

Case Studies
Country: UK

Sustainable Charlbury’s volunteer web manager and administrator helped to design an invitation for the group’s second public meeting, after the first public meeting had been poorly advertised and poorly attended. The invitation was delivered to all 1,600 homes across Charlbury, Finstock and Fawler by a team of volunteers and the meeting was attended by almost 100 people.

Country: UK

Hook Norton Low Carbon has a full page dedicated to their project in every issue of the local village newsletter. The bi-monthly newsletter is delivered to all 750 households in the village and so has provided a useful channel for communicating with the whole community. They use this outlet to publicise recent news and activities and upcoming events and meetings, as well as the financial support available for energy efficiency retrofit measures through their community rolling loan fund.

Source: Sustainable Community Loan Fund action pack

Country: UK

Low Carbon West Oxford delivered a leaflet to every household in their community to inform residents about the Low Carbon Living Programme, inviting them to participate and to become more widely involved with the group as members or volunteers. The leaflets were delivered by a team of 18 volunteers and were followed up with door-to-door visits. More than 100 people filled in and returned the leaflets, including 60 applicants for the Low Carbon Living Programme, 23 applicants for carbon footprinting, 35 new voting members, 23 new volunteers, and 75 new supporters.

Source: Low Carbon West Oxford and West Oxford Community Renewables (2010), Low Carbon Living: Power to make it possible

Posters and flyers

Content and design. Posters and flyers are likely to be most useful to promote particular events, meetings and opportunities to get involved. Make them eye-catching and visual to attract attention, rather than trying to include lots of text and information – you can always reference links to where people can find out more.

Delivery. Recruiting volunteers to hand deliver posters and flyers will save you money on postage.

Where to distribute them. Displaying posters and flyers in popular areas with a high footfall or in places where like-minded and potentially interested people will see them will be most worthwhile. This could include busy streets, community centres, university buildings, churches, theatres, pubs, music venues, community noticeboards or independent shops specialising in ethical or local products. Make sure you get permission where necessary.