Developing Your MLK Day Communications Plan

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is a great way to generate enthusiasm for the work that community organizations do each and every day. Its occurrence on the third Monday in January is an excellent kick off to a year-round call to service and an opportunity to bring new volunteers into the fold.

In order to do this, organizations involved in the MLK Day of Service must get the word out. A Communications Plan is essential to these efforts.

Your Communications Plan should include goals, strategies, targeted media outlets, spokespeople, key messages, tasks, and timelines. Follow the calendar below to develop your plan, and for each step, identify who is responsible and the expected completion date.

In early fall…

  • Develop or select community projects that are newsworthy
  • Decide on a signature project where you will steer the media
  • Register your projects on line at www.MLKDay.gov
  • Conduct outreach to the business community to seek corporate sponsors for funding and in-kind support for projects and events related to MLK Day
  • Conduct outreach to the community at large for volunteers
  • Assemble media contact lists
  • Begin building relationships with media outlets and personnel

In December…

  • Set up local media interviews for spokespeople conversant about MLK Day
  • Select and coach spokespeople for your MLK Day initiative
  • Make pitches to public affairs shows
  • Write an Op-Ed column focused on how Dr. King’s ideals are being lived out in your community, piggyback it on other hot topics in the local news

In early January…

  • Hold a press conference to promote your upcoming event and explain how service supports Dr. King's dream of equality and social justice
  • Write press releases and advisories about your upcoming MLK Day events
  • Make phone calls to follow-up on media advisories
  • Consider holding events on January 15th, Dr. King's actual birthday

In the days just prior to your projects and events…

  • Distribute media advisories
  • Submit letters to the editor
  • Prepare press kits
  • Brief media contacts

On MLK Day…

  • Make sure spokespeople arrive early and are prepared to meet with the media
  • Have a media sign-in area
  • Get photo releases from all volunteers
  • Connect reporters with volunteers
  • Document the day through photos, video, and stories

After MLK Day…

  • Contact media with information on outcomes and accomplishments
  • Send thank you notes to media

Stay In Touch

Follow us on the following social networks to ensure that you are always up to date!

CNCS

Tell us how we're doing: MLKDay@cns.gov

Additional Opportunities

Additional opportunities to serve include:

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