Develop your skills

Some members of your group might like to learn more about communication strategies. There are a number of options, e.g. you can organise a training workshop for yourselves, or attend a course/workshop.

Training and other opportunities will be posted on this website where when they are available.

For great advice and information on community communications, visit the Community Comms Collective - this group also provides free support from their volunteers with expertise in communications - Community Comms Collective


Develop a communications plan

It is important that your group determines what is communicated about the group and its activities.  Have a plan for this – don’t leave communication to chance. 

Here is some information, tips and tools to assist:

  • If you have an Action Plan this can guide your communications planning.
  • There are a range of groups you need to think about – group members (internal stakeholders), group partners, funders etc. (external stakeholders), your community and sometimes the wider public and the media.
  • For each of these groups consider why you need to communicate with them, what the key messages will be, and how you will communicate with them.
  • Some communication is regular and proactive – that is - you generate it and manage the messages, e.g. newsletters, website posts, press releases.
  • Other communication is responsive or reactive – that is - someone wants a comment or information from you.  Having some key messages and information ready will help those who are responsible for this. See an example of a community media release here.

When engaging with media always have some key facts at your fingertips. This will help you come across as confident and authoritative.

Working with the media

Communication Planning

Communications checklist with examples

Advocate - get your message across

Advocacy is key to change.  Alcohol can be a controversial and politically-charged issue. Being an advocate for change in this area may require you to step outside your comfort zone.

Community Action is a form of advocacy. There are other forms such as media advocacy, policy advocacy, direct advocacy, client advocacy, etc.

Chances are you are already an advocate and perhaps don’t realise it.  Maybe you are new to this or maybe you’d like to sharpen your skills.  Below are some information, tips and tools to support your advocacy efforts.

Advocacy is... the Art of Persuasion.  It is about recommending a course of action or change of direction. Giving a voice to those less enabled. Speaking on behalf of or in support of a person or cause.

Watch the video on effective advocacy skills




Engage with mainstream media

- Write letters to the editor/post a comment on a website

Respond in the media to a local issue or an article on a local issue

Respond to another comment or letter

Start a conversation

Newspapers and online media will usually provide an address for the editor. They sometimes have instructions for letters such as word limits, no attachments, etc.

Short and snappy is the key to getting a letter published. Direct attacks are unlikely to be published so keep it constructive and solutions focussed. Read some that have been published on the issue or other issues and get some ideas from these.

Example 1: Letter to the Editor (Sport Sponsorship)

Example 2: Letter to the Editor (Drug Educator)

Engage with social media

Increasingly, many people get their news, knowledge and information through their mobile devices. Readers often want personalised information and stories, with visual content and short videos being popular.

As such, it is useful to have an online presence and make use of the power of different social media including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Social media can also provide an interactive platform to engage with users and their wider networks by means of posts that they like and share. The following table summarises the functions and audience types of key social media. Most social media allow you to share information with everyone (public) or subscribed members (private).


  • Our counterpart in Australia, Your Shout, provides useful guidance on social media. This includes how to be proactive and how to handle negative comments/ feedback, please click here