Communication is at the heart of every awareness raising effort—including campaigns designed to promote workplaces that are inclusive of people with disabilities. By leveraging new and traditional media, business associations can tell an important story about disability inclusion and shape the attitudes and behaviors of their member businesses for the better.
After pursuing the other engagement strategies described throughout the Steps to Success, your association should talk about it. Widely promote your commitment to disability employment, your members’ positive experiences, your workforce development programs, and the topic in general through your organization’s channels, and those of your partners. To start, you can:
- Feature this Steps to Success tool in your magazine or newsletter — Articles can inform your small business members about the Steps to Success, as well as specific ideas on ways members can implement relevant activities within their organization.
- Feature the Steps to Success and related content in your social media activities — Your organization’s activities on the disability employment front provide an interesting hook for social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Post a Steps to Success web link — A link on your Home page informs members and other visitors about information of interest to them while also helping to keep your website dynamic and up to date.
- Distribute the Steps to Success in hard copy — This website makes it easy to print and co-brand this Steps to Success toolkit. Simply add your organization’s own logo/brand identity to the cover page, and print hard copies to distribute at conferences, member events and the like.
While efforts can be made at any time of the year, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) offers a timely hook for engaging in proactive outreach. Ideas include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Send a “President’s Message” or blog post about NDEAM — Association leaders can take advantage of NDEAM to send a special e-mail to members encouraging them to participate and providing information about how they can do so. Alternatively (or in addition), NDEAM could be incorporated into speeches or the President’s column in your organization’s monthly publication.
- Develop a disability employment webpage — NDEAM is a great time to unveil a dedicated disability employment webpage for members listing tools and resources (including the Steps to Success) to help them understand related issues and implement steps to foster a disability inclusive workplace.
- Distribute NDEAM posters — In today’s world of electronic communication, sending something useful and tangible to members can make an impact and reinforce the value of association membership. Associations can use the occasion of NDEAM to send their members a poster to hang in employee break areas or other locations that employees frequent to promote a positive, inclusive message.
- Solicit an NDEAM proclamation — Your organization and its partners can cultivate community-wide support for NDEAM by asking your mayor, governor or other official to formally proclaim the event. A template that organizations can easily customize is available to assist in soliciting such a proclamation.
- Reach out to local media — NDEAM presents an opportunity to increase your visibility through local TV, radio and print media. Ideas include writing an op-ed piece or letter to the editor about the value and talent people with disabilities have to offer in the workplace and community or encouraging local TV or radio news to run a feature on one or more of your members observing the month.
Want to Learn More?
The resources below can support business associations in their efforts to promote effective disability employment practices:
Have you Shared the Steps to Success?
If you plan to promote or distribute this toolkit, we’d love to hear about it! Please contact us to tell us how you’re helping to spread the word about effective disability employment practices.