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"Communications for Community Development: Links to Web Sites that Work"

Below are a dozen examples of web resources created by community development organizations to support their programs. The links were used in a training by Patrick Barry and Carlos Nelson at the Institute’s Two-Day Intensive on March 15-16, 2010.

Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation

A deep web site designed to promote the neighborhood.

Photo set used for a Chicago tourism project, showing the neighborhood's many assets.

Boston LISC

Stories and photos about the work going on, with regular updates, as well as a blog by Executive Director Bob Van Meter.

Duluth LISC

Calendar of events, neighborhood information and photos.

Logan Square Neighborhood Association

This bilingual site for a Chicago neighborhood provides a platform for news, advocacy and social networking. It links to YouTube and the association has 500 fans on Facebook.

Twin Cities LISC

Nice design, great photography, neighborhood tours and a video. Watch for more news from neighborhoods coming in 2010.

Detroit LISC

Site uses a “scribe” to write stories and includes a solid “in the news” section with stories from other media.

Neighborhood Allies

Great use of photography from recent printed report and good info on neighborhoods. They promote the site with a fan page on Facebook.

Pilsen Portal

A neighborhood-wide site that seeks input from community residents and organizations. Lots of videos, and it has 1,300 fans on Facebook.

Milwaukee Harambee neighborhood

This neighborhood site offers upcoming events and build community with profiles of residents.

Making the web work for you

It’s not necessary to build a perfect web presence. Rather, get some content up on a web site, blog or social networking tool and go from there. Here are the basics:

Find a way to tell real stories. Locate a writer on staff, an Americorps intern, a free-lancer or a volunteer who will write short pieces about your work and the neighborhoods.

Take and post pictures. Today’s digital cameras are very foregiving, so even an amateur, with some practice, can take decent photos. For greater impact, hire a pro as often as you can and use their photos often. If you use a lot of photos, create a Flickr account and post slideshows there.

Experiment with video. Many groups are posting videos to YouTube. If 10 million teenagers and senior citizens can figure it out, so can you.

Add content. To be relevant and show up in searches, you must add content to your site on a regular basis. Once a week is fantastic, but once a month will do.

Promote via Facebook, Twitter and e-newsletters. Once you create content, you want to get the biggest audience you can. Social networking tools, search, links and e-newsletters are the way to do it. By drawing readers from everywhere, these tools are far more powerful than your previous print publications, which went only to a fixed mailing list.

Posted in Communicating

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