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PR & People: New Campaigns for Downtown Management Success

February 15, 2012 @ 10:00 am - 3:30 pm


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This year DRMI will focus on two vexing issues—getting the word out and cultivating more volunteers to help your downtown program.

We are assuming that your downtown program already has a good relationship with the local media, and publishes your own paper newsletter or e-newsletter, but what other components can you add to your public relations arsenal to get broader name recognition for your program and for the quality merchants on your street? Ultimately your Downtown Management program needs to become an opinion leader in town by tying national (and even international) events to the impact they make on your downtown, so we will discuss how to be more “quotable.”

The afternoon will focus on the changing nature of volunteerism, and now your local program can respond to volunteers interested in only short term or bite sized assignments. We will also discuss how the role of the Team chairperson must change given the casual nature of many volunteer assignments. Finally we will talk about how to engage some different groups of volunteers and how to make volunteer assignments interesting to them by customizing assignments to their interests or needs: Baby Boomers, Hispanics, youth organizations, families, churches and other organizations. Please join us in Red Bank on February 15.

10:00 Welcome and introductions

10:15 The many ways to present your program to the public –balancing new and traditional media to reach the maximum possible.

11:15 Brief group exercise

11:30 50 ways to use the web to promote your program—a wide variety of strategies, software and apps to consider.

11:50 Building a yearlong promotional calendar

12:10 Becoming an opinion leader: using national and international events to promote your program

12:30 Lunch on your own in downtown Red Bank

2:00 Steering the ship: working with volunteers to own more of the work, using work plans, job descriptions and breaking assignments into bite sized pieces.

2:30 Towards a new role for committee chairs—the monthly committee meeting is fading away as volunteers just want to do their assignment and go. Some ideas for the chair to keep committee volunteers on target when you see them only occasionally

2:50 Wholesale recruitment: cultivating groups and families especially Baby Boomers, Hispanics, youth organizations, families and African American churches and other organizations—creating projects that appeal to these groups.

3:30 Adjourn


About your speaker
Donna Ann Harris is the principal of Heritage Consulting Inc., a Philadelphia-based consulting firm that works nationwide in three practice areas: downtown and commercial district revitalization, historic preservation and nonprofit organizational development. Prior to starting her firm eight years ago, Ms. Harris was state coordinator for the Illinois Main Street program for two years and the manager of the Illinois suburban Main Street program for four years. During her tenure, Ms. Harris served 56 Illinois Main Street communities, led a staff of 12 and managed a budget of over a million dollars. Prior to her Main Street career, Ms. Harris spent 15 years as an executive director of three start-up and two mature preservation organizations, each with its own organizational and fundraising challenges.

Since starting her firm, Ms. Harris has worked with state and local Main Street programs in 18 states. She has spoken for the last six years at the National Main Street Center annual conference about a wide variety of Organization topics. AltaMira Press published her book New Solutions for House Museums: Ensuring the Long-Term Preservation of America’s Historic Houses in 2007. In 2011 Heritage Consulting Inc. won the prestigious Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia for its yearlong project Delaware County (PA) Public History Feasibility Study and Implementation Plan. She has also written four feature articles in The National Trust Main Street Center’s monthly journal Main Street News, and scholarly articles in the American Association for State and Local History’s History News and the National Trust’s Forum Journal.


February 15, 2012
10:00 am - 3:30 pm
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Count Basie Theatre
99 Monmouth St
Red Bank, NJ 07701 United States
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