ATE | Outreach Tips

Setting Outreach Goals for 2021

As the start of a new year, January offers the perfect opportunity to take stock of your project’s or center’s outreach efforts, make changes, and set new goals. Offering an avenue to promote your team’s innovative work and make professional connections within and beyond the ATE community, outreach strategies help build success and sustainability. Outreach and dissemination also enable ATE grantees to meet the requirement of demonstrating broader impacts in alignment with the NSF’s aim “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes.” Whether this year will see your project or center carrying on existing work, or beginning a new grant, setting strong outreach goals will help your team show those broader impacts.

  • Conduct an Outreach Assessment. Faced with a global pandemic, social distancing, and remote work, the ATE community has had to adapt. Through this difficult time, innovative solutions shone. For additional insights into what worked well, conduct a practice assessment. Reflecting on your team’s 2020 outreach efforts and strategies will offer direction when forging new goals for this year.
  • Learn from the ATE Community. As a community, ATE offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise across many areas. One key way to learn from the excellent work done by other projects and centers is to check out their social media profiles and websites to see how they leverage outreach to promote their work and reach new audiences.
  • Set Big-Picture Goals While Remaining Flexible. If there is one thing we have learned from last year, it is the need to be ready to change plans. However, this does not mean your outreach team should avoid setting goals. Select big-picture objectives, then break those big aims into manageable tasks, such as “learn about using content scheduling platforms,” or “choose an analytics tool to track how posts perform.” This approach will enable your team to look ahead, while also adapting to unforeseen challenges without scraping the entire strategy
  • Cultivate a Relationship with Your Evaluator. As an aspect of your project’s or center’s work, outreach should also be evaluated. Bring your proposed outreach goals, objectives, and the strategies you plan to implement to your evaluator to get their feedback. Have your outreach team check in with your evaluator regularly throughout the year to determine how effective your outreach approach is and make adjustments as needed.

For more planning resources and tips, check out the ATE Central Outreach Kit.

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