We're listening now more than ever.
Jump over to 4-H.illinois.edu and look at the new Illinois 4-H website. Yeah, we did that!
Illinois 4-H is a thriving, growing, vital program reaching nearly 200,000 Illinois youth a year. In the past five years, while other youth organizations have faced a decline, Illinois 4-H has grown and not just a tiny amount. We've grown 24 percent.
We're working harder to represent all Illinois youth. Hispanic club membership has jumped 137 percentin five years; minority membership is up 90 percent.
We've kept 4-H a secret much too long. Effective organizational communication is a two-way street. We know we must learn to listen more and talk less if we want to develop meaningful relationships with clients. The new website invites two-way communication on every page, and the public is talking up a storm. In the first month of operation, website-driven questions from clients average ten a day… up from a previous five a month. Yeah, we did that!
The "Ask a Question" feature in the footer of each page sends an email request directly to the state office. "Request a Program" allows teachers' requests for programs to go directly to the county in which they live. Every program and event page allows visitors to "Tell a Friend" about their experience. With one click, visitors can post directly to their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, YouTube, and Google accounts from the page they are on. Each page also invites visitors to "Share Their Story" about a 4-H experience or "Donate" directly to the Illinois 4-H Foundation. You can also "Register" as a 4-H alum and receive quarterly newsletters.
And, families can "Join 4-H" from any page on the site.
In addition to the superb functionality, the site is visually appealing and responsive to all devices. No more spreading your fingers to magnify the print on your phone. Now, the content is mobile-friendly. And, we've made it easier to find the information people need. Everything is accessible in three clicks. Period.
We hope you'll look us up. Share your story. Ask a question. Register as a 4-H alum. We're listening.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager
Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.