Demonstrating the Benefits of CJCC’s
CJCCs need to continuously demonstrate the benefits of their collaborative efforts to member agencies and the community at large. They need to look for opportunities to celebrate and reinforce success. Most CJCCs prepare a list reporting on major accomplishments at least annually. Success is celebrated as key milestones and objectives are achieved.
There are many ways to celebrate successes internally and externally. It is important both for internal council morale and external marketing to showcase the work being done.
Introductory Ways to Demonstrate the Benefits of a CJCC
- Create an annual report showing success and share it across stakeholders and marketing mediums
- Prepare briefings showcasing successful outcomes to promote on the CJCC website and share with the county’s and city’s communication departments
Helpful Hint: Infographics are a great way to show a successful outcome that is visually appealing and easy for a broader audience to understand.
- Use social media to share the information. Have CJCC members share the information through their agency social media in addition to the CJCC’s social media accounts.
- Example: Lucas County CJCC Twitter
- Example: The Charleston County CJCC Facebook Page
- Hold town halls for the public to attend and ask questions.
- Prepare briefings for County Commissioners and City Council Members. This is particularly important if these boards aid in funding for the council.
- Develop a communication plan.
- Host an event such as:
- Ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate a new behavioral health wing in the jail opening as a result of the work of the CJCC
- An opioid summit that brings in speakers and training for the community and related stakeholders
Working with the Media and Developing a Communications Plan
Working with the media can be challenging, rewarding, and almost always beneficial for the CJCC. Positive news about a CJCC’s work can build trust and rapport within a community. However, negative stories are typically the ones that receive the most attention (and viewers), so it is critical to be proactive, develop a communications plan, and form proactive working relationships with members of the media. Relationship building with the media and the community will give the CJCC an advantage when building support for and promoting initiatives. Most CJCCs do not have a dedicated public information officer (PIO); however, leveraging resources with the agencies at the table that do have a PIO; is a great tactic for building relationships with media personnel and sharing information. It is important to remember that reporters and journalists are always looking for good news stories and if a CJCC can offer material for their use, it can help build positive relationships. This relationship building is also important when there is a negative incident. If the CJCC is seen as a partner it can help mitigate fallout.
There are many ways the media can help promote a CJCC’s success, for example:
- When your CJCC receives a large grant, use the opportunity to prepare a press release detailing the grant amount, the programs funded and the benefit it will bring to the community at large.
- When starting a new program or project that will improve your criminal justice system.
There are a variety of methods and media to get your message out, and the method will likely depend on your audience. The following are tools of the trade for media professionals:
- Press release: Press releases should be one to two pages long and offer reporters a brief overview of the subject preferably including quotes from leadership and program experts; contact name and information of the press release author; a brief description of the council and its mission and any follow-up information relevant to the subject (such as the titles of related reports, web site addresses, etc.).
- Web site: The CJCC web site is an excellent medium for sharing information, promoting program goals and enlisting support.
- Newsletter: A newsletter is the perfect vehicle for articles about your programs because you control the message.
- Social Media: Social media is a great platform to promote CJCC activities and engage with non-traditional stakeholders including the public.
Given the positive criminal justice system improvements your CJCC supports, good press coverage is often easily obtainable. The county or city in your jurisdiction should have a person to contact to learn more about the media in your local area.