Let everyone know about your Exchange
Being part of the exchange means being part of your own community and of your twin community.
At all phases of the exchange (including before and after travelling and hosting), be on the lookout with your group for ways to let everyone know about your Exchange.
Contact community groups
Contact service clubs, chambers of commerce and business people. Ask the parents of the participants to talk about the exchange. Are any parents members of community groups that would be interested in getting involved in the exchange? “Involved” could mean helping you fundraise, making a financial contribution, or inviting your group to speak after the exchange.
Contact the media
Send out a news release two weeks before the exchange. Follow it up with a phone call a few days
before the event. Contact local newspapers, radio, television and television stations.
Talk to your local cable TV station. In an exchange involving a group from Iqaluit, NU, and
Edmonton, AB, parents and community members were able to follow the students’ exchange
because the local television station filmed exchange activities.
Although it is generally easier to get media coverage in smaller communities, exchange groups
have also been on the news in big urban centres. It depends on how interesting your exchange
events are, how photogenic they are, and what else is in the news. Media often cover the volunteer
service component of exchanges as they touch on relevant local issues. Perhaps having group
members make some of the calls will pique media interest.
Write articles for community newspapers about your exchange. This has been known to produce
Prepare a press kit
You can prepare a press kit, which should include
• information about the group
• information about their twin community
• information about the YMCA Youth Exchanges Canada Program
• news release
• host plan
• list of participants (first names only)
• contact information
A news release should be double-spaced and no longer than two pages—one is better. Always
include your name and telephone numbers as a contact person.
Use online platforms
You can create a larger following from your communities by using platforms such as Facebook pages, Twitter, Tumblr, or other blogging sites. These are great places to share photos and stories and to create a larger awareness of your exchange, your community and the program. Considering your online presence can also factor into your group fundraising efforts. Crowdfunding sites can be a great way to spread the word about your exchange, to raise funds and to engage your youth and your community (especially if your group works together to design creative rewards for your online donors). As with any communication to the public, make sure that you follow the tips below:
A news release must be written clearly and list all the necessary information to get attention. It must
answer the 5W’s: who, what, when, where, why.
Most newspapers look for interesting subjects to illustrate their stories. Include a schedule of events
with your news release, so that the editor can see which ones will make good photo opportunities.
You may even want to come up with an idea for a photogenic event.