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Engaging and Strengthening Channels Year-Round is a fundamental component of the 211 network and the response to our community. It is essential in ensuring accountability to communities, community partners and donors. Understanding the different information needs of donors and community partners and their preferred communication channels is important. In this current environment having to adapt and be open to mastering new ways to communicate outside of face-to-face meetings has allowed us to expand our reach beyond the normal confines of county barriers. While communication should not be technology driven, innovative technologies, i.e., Zoom or Microsoft Teams are often appropriate to reach specific target audiences. 

211 understands the importance of maintaining strong and loyal community and donor relationships.  Our communities must trust that 211 is their first call for help and that the information received is accurate and relevant to their needs. By utilizing multiple methods of information sharing, social media, text/chat interactions, phone calls and web visits, 211’s have the ability to share information with our communities. The idea of informing communities and listening to their feedback places the community in the driver seat of our response. In the realm of 211 the exchange of information can be used to save lives, mitigate risk, enable greater accountability, and shape our response. 

Community engagement drives participation.  It creates a shared set of commitments from community partners, volunteers and donors to drive the ability to provide aid and encourage sustainability within our communities. Establishing multiple inclusive channels for sustained dialogue strengthens engagement.  In maintaining volunteer and donor databases, it allows you to build more strategic and positive experiences that will cultivate long-term and beneficial supporter relationships. The community becomes more empowered and directly engaged in decision making, and donors, through direct and indirect investments, collectively play a key role in securing positive outcomes.