Communications Task Force: January 2021

Present: Chair Jenifer Tilton Flood, Julia Fiori, John Portela, Jessica Nixon, Zakk Maher, Bryan Roche 

The Communications Task Force met electronically for its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 and discussed the following: 

Volunteer Maine staff update: Roche 

Launch of new website 

The new Volunteer Maine website, VolunteerMaine.Gov, officially launched on Dec. 15. Roche reported that feedback has been, on the whole, quite positive. Roche has heard feedback and acted on three small changes to the menu structure:  

  • Moving the Commission-focused HQ happenings from media section to the Commission section  
  • Pulling up the CMV course page a level so it appears on the dropdown menu 
  • Moving info on the professional development fund from the grants section to the commission section 

Roche once more thanked the Task Force for its involvement in the 14-month project. He closed by mentioning that further updates to website page content are planned for Q2 of 2021, and that feedback from Task Force members is always welcome. 

Instagram takeover 

Roche shared that he and Fiori have established a plan for an Instagram takeover. Fiori plans to share details of volunteer efforts, showcase available resources for volunteer managers and interview an AmeriCorps member. The takeover will be launched in the coming weeks, once all media is collected and approved. 

Announcing new Commissioners 

Roche shared that a press release announcing new members of the Commission was distributed to local media on Jan. 4. Coverage of the news also appeared on the Bangor Daily News website -- access here.

Additional updates 

Roche reported that planning is underway for the 2021 Maine AmeriCorps member conference, which will be held virtually on March 31. He is helping to advise the press and media subcommittee, as AmeriCorps members are responsible for the planning and execution of the event. 

Commissioner content: op-eds 

As a way to advance the story around new Commissioner appointments, Tilton Flood proposed that Task Force members produce an op-ed piece that can be shopped to local papers. These op-eds will also serve as a way to help with the focus area of promoting an ethic of service. Each Commissioner/Commissioner team will focus on a different part of the state: 

  • Maher: Lewiston/Auburn (Androscoggin County) region 
  • Portela/Fiori: Southern Maine and Mid Coast 
  • Tilton Flood: Northern Maine 
  • Nixon: Augusta/Central Maine 

Op-ed drafts will be due by the first week of February. 

Messaging map musings 

Tilton Flood distributed an older version of a Commission messaging map, produced in 2011, to give the group an example of what the end result could look like. Work on the project had halted over the last few months due to the new website project.  

Tilton Flood asked Roche to distribute next steps to subcommittee members in advance of the next meeting.  

Addendum 1/15/21: Welcome letter to new Legislature 

An email was distributed to Task Force members asking each to be on the lookout for a draft welcome letter to members of Maine's 130th Legislature. Tilton Flood asked members to provide any feedback by Wed., Jan. 20. 

Next meeting date: Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021