Making a Difference
Find more resources on the Purdue Extension Making a Difference website
Making a Difference is a statewide campaign that promotes the positive effects of Purdue Extension. This page contains general information about the Making a Difference campaign, including:
The Making a Difference Templates
2013 Making a Difference template (Word: 1.26 MB)
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How to Use the Making a Difference Templates
Our goal here is to explain the sections contained in the Word and Publisher templates, and provide you with some basic tips on how to use them. For more information about the content, see What to Say in the Making a Difference Templates.
These templates contain a document for a fictional Sample County. When you're ready to compose your document, simply replace the text in the template with your own content.
The templates feature a few sections:
- Purdue Extension Highlights
- Areas to highlight your programs
- An area to provide contact information
- An area for "fast facts"
Purdue Extension Highlights
The text in this box contains general statements about Purdue Extension. Do not alter or remove any of this text.
In the template, there are three sample program highlights. In each of these areas:
- Provide a short, one or two sentence description of a need and how your program addresses that need.
- Provide two or three bullet points that show your program's impact.
Remember, don't try to describe every single benefit of every program you offer. Rather, focus on two or three significant points from two or three signature programs you think your county should be known for.
When you write the headings for these program highlights, remember to:
- Write informative, attention-grabbing headlines - avoid simply writing a program name or topic.
- Make sure your headings contain verbs.
- Let your heading summarize your program.
Provide the names and contact information for key personnel in your office. Presenting this information is an invitation to decision makers to contact you to talk more about your programs.
The fast facts are a pair of bullet points next to the contact information. This information is optional. It can contain broader statistics about Purdue Extension in your county, such as how many programs you conducted, how many people you reached, and so on. Although such numbers can be compelling, limit yourself to no more than two statistics here (your space is limited).
Using the Templates
Like the other Word and Publisher templates on this site, these templates come with built-in styles for the body copy and headings.
When you compose this document, please use these styles. In other words, do not change the font types or colors unless you don't have them on your computer. And don't change the type size — remember, you need to keep the word count for all of your programs to about 250 words or less.
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What to Say in the Making a Difference Templates
So you have a template to use when you speak with your county councils. But what do you put in it?
Before you begin, it's important to remember the audience for this document and your purpose for writing it. Your audiences, of course, are members of the county council and related stakeholders. Your purpose is to remind leaders that Purdue Extension brings value to the county and, ultimately, to ensure that partnership remains a valuable, county-based educational resource.
Do not think of this document as a standalone communication. Instead, think of this document as a tool that will help you begin an ongoing conversation with decision makers. Your goal isn't to simply hand the document off and walk away. Rather, use the document an opportunity to discuss your programs at greater length — either immediately or in a follow up meeting.
Your document ought to be brief and provide officials with quick, valuable information at a glance.
At most, your document should have 250 words.
As you compose your message, keep these five points in mind:
- Select the right subject matter. Highlight programs that are important to your readers. Review what you reported at annual meetings, the important issues community leaders have identified, and your appreciative inquiries to identify your county's key needs. Then match your accomplishments with those needs. If you can demonstrate that you are already delivering on identified needs, that will speak for itself. Brainstorm with your staff and key stakeholders to determine where you've had the most impact.
- Limit yourself to three or four highlights. Again, this all about staying focused. Remember, your audiences are making decisions. Give them information that will make those decisions easier.
- Keep it concise and fast. For each highlight, write a single, introductory statement followed by two or three bullet points. Avoid providing background information or describing process. This isn't your newsletter, it's a fast fact sheet. Limit yourself to one side of a standard piece of paper and follow the template formatting. In other words, don't try to fit in more by reducing font sizes or using other formatting tricks.
- Show specific evidence. Think impact here. It isn't enough to merely state that 37 people attended your program. You need to quickly and clearly demonstrate the short- and long-term effects of your programs. Show specific, significant statistics (when available) and significant qualitative information (like testimonials) that clearly demonstrate your success. Highlight those areas that appeal to the pocketbook (economic appeal), head (intellectual appeal), and heart (emotional appeal).
- Test your document. Whenever possible, ask stakeholders or clients to read through your document and offer feedback. That feedback will help you make adjustments and create a stronger document.
Once you've completed your document, don't expect decision makers to come and get it. Deliver it to them, make personal contacts, and offer to meet with them to discuss these and other points. The template has space to include the contact information for two people. If necessary, you can make this just one person, or even three or four, but keep it simple.
Remember, this document is not the end of a conversation. Allow it to be short and catchy so it can begin the conversation.
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