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Outreach Strategies for Community-Based Organizations

This spring, our office conducted a survey of Network members about outreach strategies for community-based organizations (CBOs). The purpose of this survey was to define the most effective strategies being used by Network members to reach out to CBOs. The survey included topics such as strategies used to establish partnerships and approaches used to raise awareness about NLM resources among CBOs.

We received 91 survey responses. The majority of respondents (76%) have a community outreach-related mission, and 43% are involved in community-based partnerships.

What you told us

Based on Network members’ suggestions, the best strategies to establish a partnership with CBOs and keeping them engaged as partners are: personal visits to meet face to face, becoming a member of an organization which provides services to minority groups or those with special needs, giving presentations, and attending annual events sponsored by these groups (CBOs).

Thus, to build a strong partnership with the CBOs we need to involve the community more in our projects by showing interest in what they do and offering what we can do to help enhance their work. Also, defining missions, interests and values, and incorporating them into a program or a plan that is valuable to this group (CBOs) could be very effective.

Survey respondents indicated that the best approaches to raise awareness about NLM resources are public service announcements (PSAs), working with public librarians to ensure they know about NLM to spread the word, and continuing with presentations and exhibits at CBO events.

CBOs find training sessions, public health resources, and funding offered by NN/LM PSR very beneficial. Therefore, we need to continue with our efforts in this area.

Other suggestions for effective approaches to reach out to CBOs include providing more funding to Network members to be able to provide the necessary services and resources to this group, holding a regional conference, and inviting the CBOs to learn about our program and sharing resources.

It is also very important to keep up with personal contacts, to partner with organizations with similar missions to ours, and to initiate new relationships with these groups.

What your RML will do

We also need to keep the barriers in mind. Some network members face issues such as staff shortages and lack of organizational support and funding which prevent them from putting time and effort into working with CBOs. Therefore, we need to develop a plan to enhance the network members’ work with community or identify those who will provide support and make community outreach a pressing issue that requires more attention.

Our next step is expanding our outreach efforts to the community-based organizations based on your suggestions. Our objectives are to raise awareness and enhance access to NLM resources that can be tailored to the needs of these organizations, helping them reach their goals which are fundamental to the communities they serve.

In turn, through this development, we can reach our ultimate goals of enhancing health information access in underserved communities and eliminating health disparities.

Your feedback, ideas and suggestions are extremely valuable to us, and we thank you for all the time and effort you put into this process.

For further thoughts, ideas and continuing suggestions please contact Sue Yasharpour at

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