Accomplishment of the External Relations Committee
Geoffery Belinfante, Chair
One of the things that keeps my hard-working colleagues on the committee very busy is the coordination of this very newsletter. We hope to publish articles that are of interest to our municipal and community channels as well as our independent producers and nonprofit members. Making the newsletter a valuable source of information is a very high priority for the External Relations Committee. This past year, thanks to our managing director Rich Desimone and committee member Doug Seidel, we redesigned the look of the newsletter and changed the way it is distributed. We currently enjoy a particularly high open rate which hopefully means we are creating something of real value to our members. Recently, we sent a survey to all those who receive the newsletter asking for their input so we can make it better. Please fill out the survey and let us know your thoughts! We are continually looking for ways to make it more valuable and informative. The survey is one way we can ensure that it is something you can look forward to receiving each month.
The External Relations Committee is also responsible for JAG’s internet and social media presence. This includes our Facebook page, our website, and our YouTube Channel which we manage jointly with the Production committee. The objective of all our social media activity is to raise our public profile and present JAG as an organization that can help townships across New Jersey communicate with their citizens. Weekly Facebook posts, again created by Doug Seidel, help keep JAG’s name visible to the outside world. Facebook is just one component of the overall marketing plan for the organization that is developed by the Leadership Committee and executed, in part, by our committee. A large portion of those marketing efforts center around our website. This is often the first place people go for information about JAG, so the committee has spent a lot of time this past year updating the graphic look of the site and making it more user friendly. We have also made a concerted effort to enhance the value of the “members only” section by adding important documents to our library and videos of JAG sponsored presentations to our gallery.
Our committee is also responsible for our relationships with the Organizational Members. We try to cultivate associations with companies that make relevant products and who are sympathetic to the budgetary challenges faced by our members. These are the companies that present to us at our monthly general meeting. Organizational members come and go, so we are constantly looking for new suppliers with products who support PEG and community television, and who might become Organizational Members. In the last year, we added Municipal Captioning to our list of organizational supporters.
One of the most important functions of the External Relations Committee is to supervise JAG’s participation at the annual New Jersey League of Municipalities Convention. We ensure that the organization contracts for a booth on the floor of the convention, and we organize the workshops we present at the Conference. This is the best opportunity we have all year to interact with the mayors, council people and information officers who are responsible for communicating with their citizens. We help man the booth and arrange for the handouts about JAG. Perhaps because of the Pandemic, we had a particularly fruitful convention, meeting lots of new municipal representatives who showed real interest in taking advantage of the benefits we provide. We are currently in the process of redesigning our booth to give it a new look and to ensure that JAG’s mission is clear to those who pass by.
It may seem as if we have a lot of “balls in the air,” and indeed we do, but not every member is involved in every initiative. I have often written in this newsletter about our need for members, however, at one of our recent meetings we developed a way for people to help out with some of the tasks of our committee without committing the time necessary to be a full member. We have formed two subcommittees that will allow you to focus your attention on those functions that most interest you. For example, if you’re really into social media or web design, why not join our Social Media Subcommittee? If you enjoy writing, why not work on our newsletter by joining our Newsletter subcommittee. These will allow you to work only in those areas that are of particular interest to you. Your input would be welcome in any form.
If you have any questions about the External Relations Committee, please let me know. You can email me at email@example.com