Basic assumptions: Everyone knows about the Anytown Dogooders Association and their work and will want to help. Everyone remembers the holiday food drive from last year and is just waiting to be asked for their contributions.
Basic facts: Both basic assumptions are about 90 percent wrong. Remember that watermelon bust the Dogooders had at the park last July 4, with everyone clowning around and acting crazy? That is how the community looks upon the group — a bunch of party animals that uses the association as an excuse to get together and blow off steam.
It’s a law of our social nature — people remember us at our weakest moments.
The day after Thanksgiving is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Do you really think people have anything on their minds the week before that other than the upcoming Christmas sales? Did I give Ole Joe a can of beans and two bucks for something?
If you have to assume, assume in a way that will be beneficial to the Dogooders and, most importantly, to their cause.
Let’s assume that 50 percent of the community knows all about the group and the food drive. Great! We don’t even have to worry about them.
So let’s concentrate on that other half that just moved in from Boondocks City. With those folks, we have to start at square one. That’s where your publicity material should begin. That information can be covered quickly (with lots more stuff available on a website) so that the publicity material can move quickly on to the beneficiaries and to the event and how good it will make everyone feel.
Assumptions quite often are erroneous, so if you insist on making them, err on the side of caution. No great amount of details may be needed, but simple reminders are important and helpful both to your media contacts and to the general public.