Last spring, America’s Promise Alliance released a new communications handbook titled Raising Your Voice: Communications Planning for Youth-Serving Organizations.
The manual is part of the Grad Nation campaign, which has the goal of establishing a 90 percent graduation rate for American high schools by 2020.
The manual is designed to help organizations and individuals interested in promoting the Grad Nation campaign establish effective outreach programs within their own communities.
The communications handbook provides information on goal-setting, audience identification and tips and strategies for formulating key messages and messengers. Additionally, the handbook offers advice on metrics analysis, which can help program managers better handle timelines, budgets and other project responsibilities.
The handbook emphasizes strategic communications planning and offers advice on publishing high quality outreach materials, like press releases and opinion-editorial submissions to local media outlets. The manual also covers extensive uses of social networking platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook, in promoting local outreach initiatives.
The manual compiles information and data from communications trainings conducted in Atlanta, Durham, Indianapolis, Nashville and New Orleans last year. Several organizations supported and helped develop the manual, including the Ford Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
America’s Promise Alliance — created at the President’s Summit for America’s Future in 1997 — currently has more than 400 national partners, with local affiliates representing every state. The organization announced the Grad Nation Campaign — the largest initiative to date for the group — in 2010.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one in four public high school students dropped out in the 2008-2009 school year. If graduation rates do not increase, the Alliance for Excellent Education predicts that nearly 12 million high school students may drop out by 2020, creating an economic loss of approximately $1.5 trillion.