Develop and Initiate a Public Outreach and Education Campaign
General public awareness is critical to the success of your campaign and will help maximize participation. This effort should begin several months in advance of the changeout so that citizens have heard about it several times through a variety of channels and know how they can get involved.
Elements of a public outreach and education effort typically include the following:
- Kick-off news conference hosted by campaign organizers and supporters to announce plans for the changeout and generate an initial round of media coverage;
- Workshops and home shows to educate citizens about how they can benefit from a changeout and to get a first-hand look at the appliances available to them with retailers and manufacturers’ representatives on hand to answer their questions;
- News releases on campaign announcements and milestones distributed and pitched to local/regional newspapers, wire services, and TV and radio stations;
- Continuously maintained media list that allows for quick, efficient outreach to targeted outlets by e-mail, mail, fax and/or phone;
- Campaign website that serves as a one-stop information source on the changeout;
- Toll-free hotline for consumer inquiries;
- Promotional kits for retailers with a banner, hang tags for stoves, tracking slips, program background and tips for promoting the campaign;
- Information kits with program background to hand out to the media, elected officials, community leaders and potential supporters;
- Ad slicks and copy for newspaper, online, and radio advertising by local retailers; and
- Post regularly on social media, distilling information into bit-sized pieces over time.
Most of the public awareness activities listed here can be done for little or no cost other than staff time and expenses, and they can result in significant exposure for your campaign. HPBA, through its regional affiliate network, can offer assistance in public outreach and education. EPA has provided public outreach and education services to a limited number of wood stove changeouts in the past.