Annual reports tell your story one year at a time

By Colleen Dorner

Philip Poole, APR (photo by George Conklin)

Philip Poole, APR, executive director of university communication at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, presented a workshop on producing annual reports titled “Telling Your Story, One Year at a Time” at the Religion Communicators Council’s 2018 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Poole discussed best practices, as well as challenges, for an annual report.

Organizations have different reasons and audiences for their annual reports. Initially you need to decide if your organization needs an annual report. Providing adequate information in a clear and concise manner is key.


Faith groups should recommit to leadership on civil rights, panel members say

By Douglas F. Cannon, APR

Dr. Robert M. Franklin Jr., Yvette Moore, Kemal Budak, Rev. Dr. Kenneth Bedell (photo by Andy and Malinda Rawls)

Faith communities have retreated from moral leadership in the post-civil-rights era, the Rev. Dr. Robert Franklin told RCC members April 6. Some faith communities have drifted toward social assimilation and linked religious beliefs to political positions.

Franklin, the James T. and Berta R. Laney professor of moral leadership at Emory University in Atlanta, called for people of faith to recommit to moral leadership and to holding political leaders to high standards that seek to serve a common good.


Building relationships is key in communication leadership

By Lisa Webb

Lanette Hart (photo by Andy and Malinda Rawls)

During the second day of the 2018 Religion Communicators Council Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC, founder and principal consultant of Hart & Associates in Jacksonville, Florida, presented the workshop “Leadership Communication in Changing Times.” This session combined practical advice on developing communication strategies and leadership skills and offered insights on preparing for change and embracing the challenge of helping others to understand the nature of change when it arises.

Speaking to a room of communicators from a variety of organizations, including faith communities, schools and publications, Hart drew on her experience as a public relations professional as she discussed the role of relationship building in managing change and inspiring others to deal with change in a positive way.


Enhancing your story with digital media

by Joey Butler

John Blake (photo by George Conklin)

John Blake, who writes about race and religion for CNN, is an old-school print journalist who “remembers what it’s like to cover a boring city council meeting.”

In his workshop, Blake identified three major changes that transitioning to digital media has brought to his role as a journalist.

First is all the “bells and whistles” he now has at his disposal. Instead of the traditional treatment of a print story with a photo or two, Blake can tell his story with video, sound bytes and links to supplemental material. While he considers himself lucky to work for a large organization where each of those elements might be overseen by a different staffer, Blake cautioned those in a “one-man band” situation not to focus too much on the tech toys at the expense of the story.


To work more smartly in social media, realize it’s not all about you

By Mat McDermott

Kurt Gwartney demonstrates social media tools (photo by George Conklin)

As religious communicators we naturally want to appeal to the best in humanity, Kurt Gwartney, Senior Director of Seminary Relations for Phillips Theological Seminary, told RCC conference attendees during Friday’s “Tools for Working Smarter on Social Media” panel. But, Kurt continued, this instinct is sometime at odds with the fact that not only are the social media tools we all use both physically addictive, they are primarily designed to make money for their makers. So, how can we best use these tools for good and not just play into the next dopamine hit we get by pressing ‘like’? 

It’s a lofty question and one that served mostly as a segue into the more prosaic discussion of what are the best social media management tools on the market today, how do they compare, and how are they best used.

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