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Workshop offers tips and coaching on promoting events, working with media

BRATTLEBORO—For organizations, getting the word out about essential programs, creating compelling press materials and working with media organizations has become a critical part of the success of worthy nonprofit endeavors.

As part of the Media Mentoring Project, a series of workshops produced by Vermont Independent Media, publisher of The Commons, two professionals who have experience in doing so successfully will be available to coach workshop participants in creating communications that are accurate, professional, compelling, and — most importantly — effective.

The event, the second in VIM’s revitalized program, is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m., on Zoom and will feature Stephanie Bonin, executive director of the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, and Keith Marks, executive director of the Next Stage Arts Project, a nonprofit performing arts venue in Putney.

Together, Bonin and Marks will offer a hands-on opportunity to review an upcoming project your organization may be planning and the formula to achieve community support and measurable results.

Bonin will present the unfolding success story of Everyone Eats!, the restaurant stimulus and community food program developed during COVID that brings nutritional relief, care, and comfort to the community and vital financial support to local restaurants. Through standing together as a community, the program, which has recently been approved to continue through December, grew locally and was adopted as a model statewide.

Her comments on two different NBC News shows sums it all up: “We’re able to save restaurants, feed our community, and support our local farmers.”

Bonin will describe the steps taken to garner support for the program. One measure of her success in raising the program to the next level has been her leveraging media on the local, regional, and national levels.

Keith Marks, who assumed leadership of Next Stage just before the pandemic hit in 2020 and who has creatively kept programming going through a series of shutdowns and safety protocols, will review his formula for designing “events you don’t want to miss,” which he discussed in MMP’s first workshop.

Marks’s topics will include how to cultivate and activate a media ecosystem to support your projects and how this leads to the buzz of “fear of missing out.”

All are welcome to participate, with or without a specific upcoming event.

“In fact, this is a great opportunity for local community organizations and towns especially now that the federal government, the state and other organizations are offering funding to bring relief to communities due to COVID,” said Lynn Barrett, president of VIM’s board of directors, who will moderate.

Media Mentoring Workshops will continue once a month. The next workshop is scheduled for November on the topic of opinion writing.

“VIM and The Commons are committed to going beyond what most people expect of a free weekly newspaper,” Barrett said. “Our goal is to assist area residents with media literacy and communication skills.” Such education is a key part of the mission of the nonprofit organization, founded in 2004.

Registration is required; email Barrett at for a link to Zoom.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #634 (Wednesday, October 13, 2021). This story appeared on page A4.

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