Reach your audience with these six steps

By Terri Lackey

Erin Fitzgerald (photo by George Conklin)

Reaching an audience with your organization’s advocacy message requires six communications steps, said two Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) communications professionals.

Erin Fitzgerald, digital director at SPLC in Montgomery, Alabama, and Seth Levi, director of marketing, led the workshop “Integrated Communication for Advocacy” at the Religion Communicators Council conference in Atlanta, April 5-7. The SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of the society.


From theory to practice: Teaching, learning, and communicating in interfaith studies

By Casey Tom

Student panel from left to right: Cale Hall, Tala AlRaheb, Brittani Magee, Kemal Budak (photo by George Conklin)

Students from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology joined the Rev. Dr. Deanna Womack, Assistant Professor of History of Religion and Multifaith Religions at Candler, to discuss experiences and the importance of interfaith engagement and communication. The student panel consisted of Kemal Budak, a PhD student in Sociology of Religion; Brittani Magee, a third-year Master of Divinity student; Tala AlRaheb, a Master of Theological Studies student; and Cale Hall, a Master of Theological Studies student.

The panel discussed what they have learned through academic studies, and how the practice of interfaith engagement has enhanced their learning. Magee shared that through academics came an understanding of belief and faith functions in different faith groups, however interfaith dialogue gives a true understanding of those faith traditions. Hall stated, “academic exposure shattered my preconceptions of different faith groups.” He then discussed a recent trip to India where he had the opportunity to experience how the people there live their own religion.


Find commonalities, then go deeper and understand our differences

By Nadine L. Monn

Dr. Deanna Ferree Womack leads plenary (photo by George Conklin)

Reflect for a moment on the term “interreligious communication.” What role does a communicator play in these efforts: promoting religious literacy? Perhaps fostering understanding of various faith traditions? Or is it cultivating relationships between people of different faiths?

In Friday’s plenary, “Interreligious Communication: How Does It Look, How Should It Look – Models from the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries,” Dr. Deanna Ferree Womack of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University invited convention attendees to examine these questions while highlighting positive and negative examples from the last three centuries.

Initially, Womack distinguished between interfaith relations and interfaith dialogue.


Communicators attend workshop on crisis scenarios

by Ryan Koch

Katherine Kerr, APR (photo by Andy and Malinda Rawls)

Katherine Kerr, APR, the co-founder of Polaris Non-Profit Solutions, LLC, reprised her excellent crisis communications workshop from last year.

Walking participants through the steps of responding to crises, Katherine drew from her vast experience to provide real-world examples of crises that will eventually occur.  Although each crisis is unique, they will all follow similar patterns both in terms of preparation for them, and in terms of response to them.


Reputation management requires planning, evaluation of risks and opportunities

By Kurt Gwartney

Katherine Morales, APR (photo by George Conklin)

Communication professionals must remain vigilant about the reputation of their companies and institutions in the age of social media and ever-changing news cycles.

“Reputation management is about managing in the good times and bad times,” said Katherine Morales, APR, in her presentation during the 2018 Religion Communicators Council convention in Atlanta.

Morales said it is commonplace for institutions to be thrust into the court of public opinion on a divisive social issue. While a quality reputation can help a company or organization through the rough times, communicators also need a plan for dealing with a reputation challenge or crisis.

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