Researching Underserved Audiences

Southern Region
Middle Management 2003
Reaching Underserved
Group interaction
Points of reference
Implementation strategies in Virginia
Sharing efforts and successes in your
Why be concerned about
underserved audiences?
We already:
• Promote educational programs through
print media
• Market on radio and TV
• Circulate flyers to schools and other public
• Inform our Extension clientele through
Why be concerned about
underserved audiences?
We already:
• Advertise programs as nondiscriminatory
and “open to the public”
• They must not think our programs are
• Some of them say they want our programs
but never show up
• We have great educational programs for
them but they don’t seem to be interested
Why should we be concerned
about underserved audiences?
• Cooperative Extension has a history of not
serving all segments of the community
• Preconceived notions about our programs
• Potential clients unaware of our needsbased programming process
• Inability to access our information
• Multiple differences among clientele base
• Changing demographics in communities
Why should we be concerned
about underserved audiences?
• Diverse groups of people and organizations
should be engaged in a collaborative process for
determining community needs
• Groups should be demographically
representative of the community
• True engagement can create a sense of
ownership and support for programs
• Federal, state, and local expectations dictate
that programs be far-reaching
Considerations for Underserved
Community status
Educational level
Geographic location
• Income
• Language
• Limited access to
• Literacy
• Race
• Religion
• Sexual orientation
• Transportation
How do we identify the
underserved in a community?
• Conduct a situation analysis to determine
population makeup of community/area to
be served
• Develop community/area profiles
• Determine if program participants are
(contacts) reflective of the defined
community demographics?
• Determine which segments are not
participating in our programs
Basics for reaching underserved
• Involve a diverse cross-section of people in the
identification of community needs
• Facilitate community participation in Extension
education programs
• Express the expectation that faculty and staff be
committed to reaching underserved populations
• Evaluate outreach strategies, efforts, and
• Leadership must be committed to “doing the
right things”
Virginia practices for reaching
underserved audiences
• Agent Personal Action Plans include specific
planned outreach strategies and educational
activities for including underserved audiences
• Consider more than just race and gender
• Planned strategies and efforts are discussed
and approved by District Director
• Strategies, efforts, and outcomes are considered
during annual evaluation
Extension Leadership Councils
The primary means for Virginia Cooperative
Extension (VCE) to facilitate community
participation in Extension educational
Extension Leadership Councils
• Are representatives of
the community
• Primary partner for
community involvement
• Key to VCE Being a
Community Resource that
is Meeting the Needs of
Virginia’s Communities
ELC Mission
To develop and implement a program plan
that will direct Extension’s resources
toward the resolution of identified issues
and concerns.
ELC Vision
To identify the needs and concerns that exist
in their planning area and share a
commitment to determining solutions,
implementing them, and evaluating and
reporting results.
The group will be diverse in terms of race,
ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age,
veteran status, national origin, disability, or
political affiliation.
The diversity of the group enhances
discussions, deliberations, and actions.
There is an acknowledgement that each
person brings unique experiences and
information that will contribute to the
Consider personal characteristics, access
to community resources, geographic
representation, skills and expertise,
current involvement, self-interest, and a
willingness and ability to commit and
participate in the ELC partnership.
Roles and Functions of an ELC
• Identify community problems, concerns, and
• Assess current Extension programs
• Identify other possible opportunities for
cooperation and collaboration
• Design and implement program plan
• Monitor and adjust program efforts
• Evaluate and report results
• Advocate for Extension and its programs