Timing Is Everything. Once we received funding, we immediately launched the outreach in order to keep the project on schedule. Consequently, the deadline for station grant applications fell prior to the December holiday season. Although the response and interest level was high because the goals of the outreach were so compelling, we believe that we would have received more grant applications at a different time of year. Around the same time, stations were also responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) from the National Center for Outreach. This may have created competing priorities.
As a result of production delays, the timing of the outreach toolkit wasn't optimal. Stations needed more time to implement their plans. They weren't able to take full advantage of the workshop materials prior to broadcast and thus extend the scope of their essay contests. Many stations had to narrow their focus and host workshops for just one or two groups, rather than for a broader audience. Nevertheless, we have heard from many stations that they were very pleased with the outcomes of their workshops and other related activities.
Comments from station outreach staff included:
"This outreach effort allowed our station to reach into communities beyond the African American and Latino communities [and] into the Asian and Islamic communities."
"We were able to forge partnerships with our community colleges because of this outreach effort, which we had not been able to do before."
"We were able to set up a mentoring program between high school and community college students."
"My Journey Home afforded us the opportunity to bridge to our outreach activities already under way with American Family and The New Americans."