Web-Based Benefit Access Tools: Mitigating Barriers for Special Needs Populations. F. Marketing and Education

11/01/2012

Marketing and education campaigns can help to dispel myths about the relationship between citizenship status and program eligibility, or preconceptions or stigma about the concept of public assistance. Noncitizen populations with fears about deportation and public charge issues may benefit from marketing materials that explain their specific eligibility for benefits. Marketing and education campaigns can also help to target populations located in specific geographic areas, including rural populations and community colleges. For example, low-income students may benefit from campaigns that inform them of benefits for which they may be eligible and application assistance located on campus. Three types of marketing strategies used by the case study sites include the following:

Media Campaigns. Several case study sites developed media campaigns to increase awareness of their tools. DSS staff in Delaware used public service announcements (PSAs) to convey the message that ASSIST is "easy, quick, and free." OBB also created a comprehensive marketing campaign that included a wide-scale media campaign with PSAs on cable access TV and radio, billboards, and newspaper ads. One of Project Bread’s key objectives in the Reaching the Latino Working Poor in Massachusetts Demonstration was to dispel myths about the relationship between citizenship status and public assistance. Project Bread developed print materials, including postcards, brochures, and posters, to distribute at community events and to CBOs. They also developed and placed PSAs on local Spanish-language radio and public cable television shows and in Spanish-language newspapers.

Marketing Materials. The Single Stop USA national office provides outreach assistance and materials to each site to help it publicize its services. Each site has access to posters and a flyer template. The site manual also includes an outreach section that provides ideas about how to reach the target population. For example, at community colleges, the manual suggests contacting the academic affairs office to get permission to go into classrooms to inform students about the campus site. OBB staff also disseminate information through business cards, posters, and pencils that include a 1-800 number and a website address for more information. For instance, one series of flyers focuses on the message "File Your Taxes for Free!" and describes OBB’s services and how to access them. Each flyer shows a person or a family representing a range of ages and races.

Marketing Teams. ACCESS NYC hired a five-person team to inform the public about its online resource. Staff conducted trainings and presentations on ACCESS NYC for city and CBO staff and worked with city agencies and CBOs generally to encourage them to place the ACCESS NYC logo on their own websites. In addition, staff conducted train-the-trainer sessions at each workforce center in the city so that center staff could pass on knowledge of ACCESS NYC to other staff in their own and partner organizations.

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