Communication plan paying-off during COVID

Committeewoman Julie DeLaurentis discusses how Harrison Township's improvements in communicating with residents is paying off.

The pandemic has had numerous impacts on our community with rippling effects as we continue to seek a return to our “normal” lives. There are many challenges to address on so many levels. While we all have our personal things to deal with, on the township level we are managing on a week-to-week basis based on the restrictions being put in place and of course being lifted!

Three years ago, we made a commitment as a township to address one of the areas that residents consistently voiced concern over: “I want to know more about what is going on in our community.” 

As a result, we launched the Mullica Hill Connect campaign as a part of our overall strategy to build communication channels that provide consistent information to the community. The program is run by 4SureFun, in partnership with our township staff. The platform includes weekly emails, Facebook updates, website management, event planning/promotion and more.

I mention this because communication has played a key role over the last four months. Most of us watch national news, viewed the Coronavirus Task Force and read medical expert opinions. Often this information is unclear or inconsistent. What we all want is straight answers focused on what is happening that affects us.

Our state representatives and county officials have worked tirelessly to give us accurate information and resources. Locally we’ve worked hard throughout the pandemic to clarify and communicate the correct information as we receive it. Our goal has simply been to help residents understand what is happening and how leadership is handling the daily challenges.

In the earliest days of the crisis, Mayor Louis Manzo began writing daily emails to ensure proper information was being provided. He continues to share information weekly that includes state, county, local statistics, information on testing centers, assistance for businesses and more. His message is uploaded to our website and Facebook page — it has become the cornerstone of our “Harrison Strong” spirit.

In addition, we were quick to address concerns for our local businesses. This included moving Restaurant Week from June to April to connect residents with the local eateries. We also launched Digital Main Street as another way to support/promote businesses providing their products or services. From professionals to retailers to home improvement, we fluidly roll out a communication plan based on the investment we made three years ago to launch the Happening in the Hill platform.

We are recognized across the county as “best in class” when it comes to the quality and consistency of our communication programs. This did not happen by accident. Residents expressed concern, leadership listened, and a solution was delivered.

A special “thank you” to our partners at 4SureFun, they’ve dedicated a tremendous amount of time helping to develop new programs and coordinating our communication over the last four months — all at no additional cost to us. They have been our unsung heroes from the start and great partners for the past three years.