Tag: public relations

Recognition and Positive Reinforcement for Your CERT Group


Yay for us!

Our public relations coup.

Over the past two weeks, our neighborhood Emergency Response Team has been recognized three times for – well, for being active and being prepared!

CERT group article

Front Page Article!

First, the local police department attended our homeowners’ association meeting and presented us with the “First Annual Community Preparedness Award!” Picture of 30+ team members in their vests appeared on the PD’s Facebook page.

Then, a week later, the local newspaper came out with a front page photo and article, “They’re Ready to Respond.” The sidebar included a comprehensive list of “how to prepare.”

The same photo and slightly different article appeared in the regional issue of the paper four days later.

So, in our local community, we are now famous. And besides the positive public relations, we’ve helped spread the message about preparedness. Feels good, and our group is energized!

After all, everybody wants to be appreciated.

Of course, we don’t always have the chance to get our local press out for photos. Still, there are a lot of easy and inexpensive ways to keep up morale. Here are some we’ve used in the past and will be using again. Can you add a few of these to your own list?

Some ideas for ongoing recognition

  1. Include thanks at every meeting. I have a line on my written meeting agenda to fill in with the name of at least one person who helped behind the scenes to put that meeting together: refreshments, name tags, audio-visual, whatever.
  2. Feature a member in a newsletter article or in a meeting invitation. A Smartphone makes it so easy to get a picture of one of your members. Then, add a short paragraph whenever you’re publishing something. Just call it, “Get to know your Emergency Response Team neighbor” and add a few details. People love seeing their picture!
  3. Give all members official nametags. Invest a few dollars in clip-on badges so regular group members will have that bit of added “status.” (Visitors get plain stick-on paper name tags.)
  4. Hand-written thank-you cards. Taking the time to thank someone in “the old-fashioned way” still really works. You can write a note for a specific action that a member took, or offer thanks for steadfast support of the group.
  5. Ask for opinions and help. People like to be valued! It may seem easier just to do it yourself, particularly if you are extremely busy, but involving a sub-group or team may actually take some of the burden off you – and give your team members a dose of personal satisfaction.
  6. Present a small gift to one of your members who has shown particular initiative. The gift should reflect your emergency mission – something like a whistle, or a small flashlight, or even a package of “emergency rations” might be appropriate.
  7. Create a “traveling award” to be presented to the sub-group that excels at a particular task. For example, it could be the Division that signs up the most new members, or that has the best participation in the monthly radio drill. The next month, the award is passed along to new recipients – or kept, if deserved!

Oh, and back to that newspaper article. The reporter knew nothing about emergency preparedness, but thanks to careful reporting and good writing, her article was really well received.

Have you considered pitching the story of your group to a local reporter? The result may surprise you!

Virginia Nicols
Your Emergency Plan Guide team

P.S. I’d like to double the list of “ways to recognize team members.” What can you add?