Communication Mechanisms: External
Website. The NPO committed substantial time and resources to designing and maintaining a website that served as a home for products, event information, a directory, and other resources. The website also allowed for the sharing of stories from the Alliances (produced internally) and learning networks.
The website evolved as the program progressed, becoming increasingly user-friendly and transparent. During the second half of the program, the website was frequently used as a hub for communication between the NPO and the Alliances. The content available on the website represented the breadth and depth of the Alliances’ work, and served as a showcase to the broader community about the exciting and important work of AF4Q.
Social Media. Over the latter half of AF4Q, the NPO increasingly devoted time and resources to curating a robust social media presence. The communications team designed and implemented a comprehensive approach to sharing Alliance successes and stories via Twitter and Facebook. The NPO found social media—particularly Twitter—to be an important component of its communications strategy. Using Twitter allowed the NPO to spread AF4Q’s message in a low-cost, organic way; to promote the NPO’s and Alliances’ resources and tools; and to interact with individuals in Alliances and the broader health care field.
Newsletters. The NPO developed and distributed two newsletters—one directed at the Foundation (NPO Roundup) and the other at the Project Directors (PD Outlook). The newsletters ran every other week and included relevant updates, with some content overlap between the two. For the Foundation audience, the newsletters focused on updates and activities among the NPO staff (i.e. travel to an Alliance) and stories highlighting specific Alliance progress. This centralized newsletter created for the Foundation allowed for more efficient calls and meetings between the two teams. The Project Director newsletter included similar information, as well as a calendar of events (i.e. webinars, in-person meetings, report deadlines), calls for input on a variety of topics (i.e. TA, processes), and funding announcements and opportunities.
The NPO wrestled with whether or not to centralize communication with the Project Directors and so developed a combined approach, with the NPO centralizing downstream information but de-centralizing upstream information (i.e., Project Directors could call their regional support or other NPO staff rather than calling one centralized number).
Additionally, the communications team produced an external, public newsletter on a monthly basis for outside stakeholders. Topics included the impact areas of AF4Q, such as patient engagement or care across settings, and editions that focused on one particular Alliance. The goal of the public newsletter was to inform outside stakeholders about AF4Q program progress and outcomes.
Publications. The publications staff tracked externally-developed products produced by outside technical assistance providers, and guided the review and editing processes. Publications were usually reviewed by Foundation staff and NPO staff before placement on the AF4Q website. Internally, writers synthesized available information and reported out about progress and outcomes in each Alliance, usually to accompany bi-annual national meetings. Alliances found these articles useful for communicating in their local markets about their work.