Communications Committee - Accomplishments
Improving communications doesn’t happen overnight. The improved communication residents are seeing is a direct result of years of vision, planning and plenty of hard work done by many current and former Communications Committee members as well as the result of support & involvement from the current and previous Township officials and employees.
Wondering what the Communications Committee is up to? Hopefully you’re seeing more and more communications in different places and in different ways. People get their local news from a wide variety of sources so successful communicating means spreading important information to as many sources as possible and developing new ways to communicate effectively. It’s not easy to reach all of you so we’re creative in how we do it. And, we’re obviously not done innovating; there will be continued improvements and new ideas to come.
You may not know that the committee is an all-volunteer group of residents. We work hard to ensure that our communications remain apolitical and factual.
Here’s a cheat-sheet of the improvements the Communications Committee team implemented - all of which are ongoing today:
- New Website (2018): New, easy-to-use & mobile-friendly website.
- Monthly Newsletter (2018): emailed, printed, posted to Facebook & the website.
- Facebook & Instagram (2017) – The Committee created the Township Facebook page (2017) and created and runs the “BH Communications Committee” Facebook page (2018) that posts to all of the BH Community groups. The administration runs the township Facebook page, now posting updates nearly daily, which the Committee shares to the various Facebook forums to help inform residents. Mayor Devanney also frequently posts updates and news on her official Facebook page, which are shared by the Township and the Communications Committee. Newly created, the committee just also established an official (blue checked!) Township Instagram page @BerkeleyHeightsgov.
- Email Updates (2017) – Regular email & text updates about important news. Beginning in 2019, email alerts about website updates are now deployed whenever there is news of interest for residents.
- Video (2016 & 2019) – Increased use of video both as short, weekly “Happening in the Heights” episodes (2019), and as longer, in-depth reviews of Town and Community events (2016). In 2019, "Happening in the Heights," a new video series with the Township Administrator and Communications Committee Chair - often with special guests - won an award for "Best Visual Media" in the 58th Annual Municipal Public Information Contest.
- Listening Sessions (2018) – Regular “Coffee & Conversation” sessions where residents can ask questions, learn from and get to know their elected officials.
- Livestream Meetings (2016) – Made Town Council & select Planning Board meetings available remotely. Planning Board focus in 2019 is livestreaming meetings where key redevelopment projects are heard.
- Education (2016) – In person (at the Summer Town Block Party, Summer Concerts, etc.) and published updates about important town issues. Working with Administration to publish ongoing updates on Redevelopment, affordable housing and Master Plan (2019).
- New Resident Outreach (2019) – The committee will be working with local realtors so new home buyers are welcomed to Berkeley Heights and given lots of information they need about living in town, including how to get and stay informed. Plugging them in from day 1!
- Senior Advisory Board Communications (2019) - The committee is represented on the new Senior Citizen Advisory Board to help communicate resources available to our town’s seniors, and is helping augment programs and services for our seniors.
- Templates & Best Practices – The committee shares its expertise with other committees to improve overall Town Communications.
- Leverage Outside Communications – The committee works with the Administration and issues regular releases to TAPinto Berkeley Heights and Renna Media to increase reach.
The Committee will keep working to continue to improve Township communications. It’s not quick or easy, but we know that we’re making progress and, as a united team, our progress will continue. Have an idea? Please share it with the team: email us at BHCommunications@bhtwp.com