New study on spirituality to be unveiled at Religion Communication Congress 2020

The Fetzer Institute, in partnership with Hattaway Communications, will unveil initial insights and findings from a groundbreaking survey on spirituality in America at the March 17-21, 2020, Religion Communication Congress 2020 (RCCongress 2020).

The survey brings people’s spiritual lives to light by reflecting how people experience and practice spirituality within and outside traditional religions. The survey will also show how Americans’ spirituality may inform their prosocial and civic behavior. The institute is also exploring how religious institutions are igniting meaningful conversation with this in mind.

“We hope by better understanding how people describe, nurture and practice their spirituality, that we can tell better stories about the many ways spirituality impacts our relationships to ourselves and others and connects us to our world,” said Gillian Gonda, program director of engagement at Fetzer. Gonda will be one of the presenters of the survey along with Veronica Selzler of Hattaway Communications. The Fetzer Institute partnered with Hattaway to conduct the study.


Religion Communication Congress 2020 explores LGBTQI and religious rights

Balancing LGBTQI and Religious Freedom RightsIs there a culture war between the LGBTQI and faith-based communities? Is the only option a zero-sum game where one side wins, and the other loses their civil or religious rights? The founders of the United States thought so highly of religious freedom they made it one of the cornerstones of the Constitution. If they were writing that document today, would that still be the case? Come to the Religion Communication Congress 2020 (RCCongress 2020) and join a lively panel discussion of LGBTQI and religious liberty advocates who will discuss this important issue and search for a common ground solution that can be fair for all Americans.


Religion Communication Congress 2020 presents faith advocacy in D.C.

Professional religious communicators work hard to make a difference. How can an effective communications program be an integral part of the advocacy work faith-based organizations do on Capitol Hill? From one-on-one lobbying efforts to applying public pressure to harnessing the power of social media, learn more about how people of faith can – and do – make an impact on public policy. Gain practical knowledge you can apply to your own organization’s communications strategy.

On Saturday morning, March 21, the Religion Communication Congress will bring advocates from D.C. faith organizations together with social media experts to describe how advocacy works, both in person and in the digital sphere. Persons who have spent time on both the giving and receiving ends of this work will discuss best practices, what can be successful, and what does not work.


D.C. chapter learns keys to an effective news pitch

By Will Brummett, BJC intern

Paul O’Donnell speaking at RCC D.C. Chapter meeting in November 2019

Photo by Rachel Jones/BJC intern

How should your organization pitch an idea for a news story or op-ed? What are common pitfalls to avoid? Paul O’Donnell, Opinion and Features Editor for Religion News Service, offered his editorial expertise and insights on how to make effective pitches to the D.C. chapter of the Religion Communicators Council during the November meeting.

Some communicators may assume that the most appealing pitches to editors are graphically-designed, perfectly formatted pieces expertly written and ready to be published. O’Donnell cautioned RCC members to refrain from sending pitches that are pre-packaged, solely focused about their organization, and sent repeatedly or too frequently. It’s key for those pitching to avoid a common blind spot of not knowing the history or context of an issue beforehand and thinking something is new when, in fact, the issue is the same old story repeated years later.


D.C. chapter explores the benefits of a one-page communication plan

By Will Brummett, BJC intern

Heidi Thompson describes her one-page communication plan to RCC D.C. Chapter members

Photo by Rachel Jones/BJC intern

Set your next project up for success by starting with a simple one-page communication plan, which can make all the difference. Marketing and digital strategist Heidi Thompson shared her experiences and insights on crafting this tool with the D.C. chapter of the Religion Communicators Council for the September chapter meeting.

Thompson drew on her varied experiences to discuss the power of designing simple, one-page communication plans for future events, campaigns or product launches. Many communication professionals have experienced being left out of the planning of major events or campaigns until the last minute. So, what do you do when, once invited to the planning, you realize the projects you’re being asked to promote lack a clear set of communication goals or are depending on gimmicky outreach tactics? Coming to the table with a simple plan allows you to define success, choose clear priorities, identify key audiences and collectively decide on the best strategies and tactics from the outset, bringing all the stakeholders together. This also can lead to crucial buy-in from the rest of the staff, allowing a higher chance for success for everyone involved.

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