Falling in love with the purpose behind what the Community Redevelopment Agency stood for, and working with several agencies in Florida, we want to help CRA’s across borders to provide some marketing ideas in order to help further your individual objectives.
Let’s dive right in!
What is a Community Redevelopment Agency?
A Community Redevelopment Agency is a dependent special district created for the sole aim of promoting and facilitating the redevelopment of areas considered to have slum and blight. A CRA serves as an important tool that allows municipalities to commit resources to reduce and/or eliminate the conditions of slum and blight, stimulate the community and encourage economic revitalization.
Furthermore, Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) refers to a public entity created by a city or county to implement the community redevelopment activities outlined under the Community Redevelopment Act which was enacted in 1969 (Chapter 163, Part III, Florida Statutes). The CRA is established by the local government and functions within that local government.
Additionally, a Community Redevelopment Agency is a geographic area that its physical and economic conditions meet the definition of slum or blight according to the Florida Statute Chapter 163.CRA is created solely to deal with distressed conditions in a redevelopment area. The CRA also encourages public and private investments to spur economic growth and improve the quality of life in the redevelopment area.
Some of the primary objectives of the agency include:
- Resolve problems associated with slum and blighted areas, including the physical, social and economic aspects.
- Encourage local government to improve the physical environment (i.e. buildings, streets, parks, utilities) through rehabilitation, conservation or clearance/rehabilitation.
- Provision or improve public facilities such as, but not limited to, streets, sidewalks, parks and recreation, and neighborhood facilities
- Refine and implement the City’s Comprehensive Plan, as well as the development of other plans targeted for neighborhood, inner city redevelopment, and affordable housing initiatives
Why is marketing important for this agency?
The importance of marketing to the CRA cannot be overemphasized as it offers lots of benefits to their respective City, including:
- It helps clarify the needs of public: With effective marketing efforts, the agency can easily discern the basic needs of the community it serves. This can be simply done by first carrying out a detailed study which will help in identifying the peculiar needs of the populace. Upon identifying these needs, the agency will be able to identify some of the areas they need to intensify their efforts so as to serve the community in a better way.
- It helps in reaching the public more easily and frequently: With the aid of the numerous marketing strategies that are available now, it is much easier for this agency to reach its audience without special efforts. By hiring and setting up a team of knowledgeable marketers, they will be able to reach their targeted audience in a more cost effective and frequent manner.
- It showcases the agency’s achievements to the populace: Using several channels, the agency can easily inform the public they are serving about their latest achievements, as well as proposed development programs and policies. This simply means that people will able to trace the performances of the agency thus far, and this will help in measuring the level of the agency’s positive contributions in such area.
- It helps the agency in gaining more favor from the public: The more transparency the Agency holds, public trust will be built. In partnership with its residents, the CRA will demonstrate that it not only provides services but listens to the public’s most dire concerns of their local community.
- Save redevelopment funds through smart marketing not mass marketing: Working smart and through marketing insight we would like your agency to stretch their budget further, thus helping more people! Remember to work smart and find channels best suited to your public’s needs. Cutting costs of traditional marketing you are further enabling more cost effective solutions from which you can reallocate elsewhere.
What are the objectives of the CRA?
Some of the primary Objectives of the CRA as defined by legislation include the following:
- To handle the problems associated with slum and blighted areas, including the physical, social and economic aspects.
- To encourage local government to improve the physical environment (i.e. buildings, streets, parks, utilities) through rehabilitation, conservation or clearance/rehabilitation.
- To convey local community redevelopment agencies the power to expend public funds as a means to improve slum and blighted areas.
- To eliminate substandard housing conditions and to provide adequate housing to residents of low or moderate income, particularly the elderly.
- Provision or improvement of public facilities such as, but not limited to, streets, sidewalks, parks and recreation, and neighborhood facilities
- Provide relocation assistance to families displaced due to the Community Development process and other related activities
- Refinement and implementation of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, as well as the development of other plans targeted for neighborhood, inner city redevelopment, and affordable housing initiatives
- Development and support of those facilities and services which meet the physical and other needs of the elderly, handicapped, and lower-income citizens of the city
- Promotion and stimulation of neighborhood and inner city economic development
- Continued enforcement and support of the principles of fair housing
- Preservation of historically significant properties within the city
- Revitalization of deteriorating neighborhoods; prevention and elimination of blighting influences; and conditions detrimental to health, safety, and public welfare, including but not limited to, acquisition, demolition, and site clearance activities
- Benefit to low- and moderate-income families
Why is social media important to better serve their market?
Used by millions of people worldwide, including many non-profits and government organizations making it an essential tool for the Community Redevelopment’s positive initiatives.
Today, millions of Americans in rural and urban communities use social media. And based on several findings, both cities and rural areas are using the social media on a regular basis. In fact, more than 75% of these people visit their social media timeline at least twice a week, which simply means there is a considerable amount of people using the social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, among others. Given the magnitude of social media usage, the platforms should be considered a community development tool. The following are some examples of how social media platforms can benefit the local community development process:
- Social media can be used for one-way communication, such as sharing information and planning the logistics of community meetings.
- Social media can be used for two-way communication, such as asking for community input on development visions and particular strategies.
- Social media can be used to implement development visions by helping to maintain public involvement throughout the planning process and by keeping the community focused achieving development strategies.
Quick Tip **
It is better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. Meaning, try to focus on your demographic or location. Try not to spread your time or budget so thin. Start local then branch outward. Separate some time to focus on the audience you are truly looking for and focus your efforts on that specific market. Another suggestion is to also cater that demographic to a social media outlet best known to match your market (not all social networks have the same audience)
However, the best practices for social media often call for organizations to be active on their social media sites, to be creative in order to draw attention to the communication and to have clear policies governing their social medial sites. Before creating social media sites, governments need to have clear policies governing how their employees will behave on the sites and how they will use the forums to communicate with citizens. According to research conducted by the Center for Technology in Government at SUNY, Albany, social media policies need to focus on helping governments do the following:
- Maintain secure sites for their citizens.
- Produce communications that are both relevant and important to their citizens.
- Provide public officials with clear guidelines regarding what is and is not acceptable conduct and comments on the sites.
- Fairfax County, Virginia has a model social media policy that achieves these goals. For instance, the county will remove posts by citizens if they contain: vulgar language, personal attacks, discrimination, spam, copyright infringements and statements that advocate illegal behavior.
What other tools can be utilized?
Some other tools that can be used to help communicate with the audience include:
The government authority can also create a dedicated website for its stakeholders to keep abreast of the latest developments by the government of the day regarding community development and other related issues. Any important news can be placed onto the homepage screen of their dedicated website.
Use your positive objectives and agency’s connections to build collaborations with local businesses and organizations. Most communities have their own set of local businesses, community leaders, influencers and non-profit organizations. The more participants within events and other such activities help not only build attendance but help spread the word locally towards your agency’s objectives and purpose. Make sure that there is proper and positive community alignment with your set collaborators.
Starting a blog and providing it with fresh, original and thought-provoking content on a regular basis can help improve their website’s SEO and make generate more visits from the targeted public. Blogs are great for keeping an archive of past events, progress and upcoming activities in an organized fashion. The more the public can learn about all of the wonderful work that the agency is up to, the more public trust and positive input you can potentially receive. Blogs are a great way to boost credibility, transparency and in the long run build SEO keyword-related benefits.
Virtually everyone has at least one email, so tapping into this handy non-invasive tool and update its audience with everything they need to know about the community development agency’s updates and policies as it develops. Make sure to add an email subscribe form on your website so that throughout time you gather emails without putting much effort the collection process.
According to DMR about 4.3 Billion users use email regularly.
YouTube / Video Marketing Platforms
With its over 2 billion monthly viewers, YouTube is a highly-targeted area for reaching the populace as most people are fond of viewing various videos on YouTube virtually once in a week. Utilizing a more interactive medium you are able to engage on a higher level than text and images normally would. If you consider this tool, please keep note for ADA compliance as government-related entity needs follow. For other popular video platforms please click here: Popular Video Platforms 2018
As you notice there are several ways to help serve your community, for starters please plan ahead to be able to choose the best channels for your objectives. Start by determining your objective for the campaign, defining the audience, and determining the best channel(s) to serve that audience. Later we plan on diving deeper into common CRA objectives
. We hope this serves as a source of inspiration to get your ideas flowing!