Program Launch & Public Announcement
Opportunity announcement strategies, templates, and instructions for getting the word out about the funding program.
Once the program is designed and the application materials are ready to be shared, it is time to make the big announcement. This is typically 4-6 weeks before the deadline, or earlier if a significant amount of preparation is needed for the application.
- Is there enough content to have an event solely focused on the grant program?
- Is there an upcoming event that will already draw in your target audience?
- How does your target audience prefer to receive information?
- Are there people in your network that can serve as ambassadors for the program?
In the announcement, include the program’s key information early and in a way that grabs the reader’s attention so it doesn’t get lost in the details. The focus area of the program, grant amounts, and application deadline should all be able to be found in the first 1-2 paragraphs of a program announcement and then expanded upon either further below or on a linked page. An extra step that often pays off in dividends is to create a short-link that is easy to remember and spell that takes people directly to the program page.
Announcements may come in the form of a press release, e-blast, or event invitation and are often accompanied by newspaper, radio, or social media ads to help spread the word even further if it is an open application process. If you have engaging photos or videos to help with your online marketing, they are helpful to get people’s attention and make the announcement more visually engaging. Also be sure to update the landing page of your website so that when people go to the homepage, it is easy for them to be directed to the new program’s page.
As always, word of mouth is the most successful form of marketing. It is helpful to share the information directly with people you think would be a good fit for the program as well as community partners that work directly with these people. If the information is easily shareable (language to copy/paste into emails, social posts, etc.), people are more likely to help spread the word throughout their networks and serve as ambassadors for the program. These ambassadors are often former applicants, project leaders, or people/organizations who are well known in the field of the program’s focus area.
Methods We Love
Throw a party. Happy hours, big network gatherings, and other events are a great way to share the news about a new program. The promise of information about a funding opportunity can be a great draw to an already existing large event but it is also ok to have a smaller event, like a happy hour, that focuses solely on announcing the new funding program.
Write about it. Blog posts, e-blasts, and other methods of sharing the news through written content is easy for people to consume, act upon, and share. Including a brief set of program highlights and a link where people can learn more along with a way to share the message makes the information easily actionable both for prospective applicants and community ambassadors.
Use a press release. If you have strong press contacts and not a lot of staff capacity to host an event or really push the news on social media, let the professionals do it for you. This is typically a more successful approach if there are large grants being offered or an especially hot topic as the focus of the program to help ensure that the announcement is picked up by the media.
Buy paid advertisements. Ads in the Northside Chronicle were extremely effective for sharing the announcement about the One Northside Neighbor-to-Neighbor grants since this was a place-based program that impacted a community with a wide range of backgrounds and interest areas. Their common connection was where they lived and worked, so using a media source that specifically targeted that community was a successful way of spreading the word about the program.
The tech way is not always the best way. While a lot of people consume information through their electronic devices, that is not the case for everyone. It is important to understand your target audience, which includes knowing if they prefer to learn about things from their neighbors at the local community meeting or if they are more receptive to information shared by colleagues on a reputable platform. When it comes down to it, a combination of marketing methods works best to reach a diverse group of people, but you should know which avenues to focus more energy on to reach your intended audience.