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Communication Audit of the

North Shore Community Development Coalition


Community Engagement Program
Audit performed by Shanley DInnocenzo

Introduction
The North Shore CDC invests in neighborhoods to foster thriving communities of
choice and opportunity. The purpose of this communication audit is to see if the North
Shore CDC is communicating effectively about their Community Engagement Program
to the public via their website, social media, and print materials.
The Organization
The North Shore CDC is an organization that works with specific neighborhoods
on the North Shore to create a relationship that benefits the residents, organization, and
the city as a whole. More specifically, the Community Engagement Program focuses on
encouraging residents to become involved with all aspects of their community. From
decision making about changes in the community, to participating in projects to foster a
positive atmosphere, and to advocacy efforts for resources that benefit the community as
a whole. This program brings together all of the components that make up the target
audience, residents, stakeholders, and funders.
Target Audience-External
Residents
The Point neighborhood of Salem, Mass. is populated by 4,100 residents within
195 acres. The majority of residents are immigrants, with the most prominent country of
origin being the Dominican Republic at 46.22% Closely followed are Guatemala and
Vietnam with roughly 8% each. The highest age concentration in The Point is nine years
old and younger at 32.4%. Adults ages 20-34 and 35-54 make up roughly 25% each, and
both the 55-64 and 65 and over ranges barely constitutes 10% individually. English is not
the first language of 35% of households in The Point and 22% of residents do not have a

high school diploma. The median salary of a Point resident is just under $40,000 a year.
However, 20% meet federal poverty guidelines.
Stakeholders
There are a number of stakeholders for The Point neighborhood in Salem. The
City of Salem, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem, The Peabody Essex Museum,
and The Point Neighborhood Association are just a handful of organizations that fall
under this category. Because they are all integral parts of the Salem community, their
success is dependent on the success of every neighborhood and therefore have a vested
interest in seeing The Point thrive.
Funders
Funders include, but are not limited to, Eastern Bank charitable foundation, Raza
Development Fund, Mountain One Bank, North Shore United Way, and MassHousing.
These businesses fund the efforts of the North Shore CDC for a variety of reasons. Most
importantly, they believe in the work of this organization and want to see it succeed so
that the city of Salem can live up to its full potential.
Methodological Approach
For this audit, I looked at the organizations website, social media platforms, and
print material that pertained to the Community Engagement Program. Facebook, Twitter,
and Flickr were the social media sites I examined, and also looked at fliers and
newsletters that were distributed to The Point neighborhood. I chose these platforms to
explore because I feel that these were the most direct ways that the North Shore CDC
gets their message across to the public. In examining this particular data, I can get an

accurate picture of how effectively the organization is communicating with the public
about the Community Engagement Program.
Audit Results
Website
At first glance, the website comes across as very inviting. The color palette and
the mural like banner across the top captures what the organization is about and what the
people they help will respond to. A strength of the website is that its aesthetically
appealing. The layout is consistent throughout, but does allow the homepage to stand out.
Unfortunately, the rest of the site, especially the part concerning the Community
Engagement Program, is extremely counterintuitive and confusing. Because there was no
clear tab for the individual programs being executed. Rather than clicking through all of
these tabs, I attempted typing in community engagement into the search bar at the top
of the page. This brought me to a list of Google results, most of with had nothing to do
with North Shore CDC. Returning to the site, I finally found information about the
program under the community tab. However, even then I had to know to look to the left
of the screen and select one of the three programs listed. Again, everything is laid out
well and looks very nice, but none of it seems to flow naturally as a user.
Twitter
Twitter is by far the best social media platform this organization has. Tweets were
sent out every couple of days, sometimes multiple times a day. Many of the tweets
pertained to community engagement, especially about a recent event, the Polar Plunge.
Followers were able to register for the plunge by following links in the tweet, get tips on
preparing for the plunge and were able to see photos from the event which may inspire

participation in future activities. The only slight problem I saw was many of the tweets
had a number of hashtags and links and very little text. I know this is the way of Twitter
but visually the imbalance of black and blue text is a little off putting. With that being
said, I like that the Twitter handle was the same as the name of the company and what the
Facebook page is called. The consistency made it very easy to connect the different
channels.
Facebook
Similar to the twitter account, Facebook has its fair share of strengths and
weaknesses. Again, Facebook allows easy access for users to interact with the
organization and how they can get involved. Reiterating the example of the Polar Plunge,
registration and photos were available on Facebook as well. Unfortunately, there was no
individual page dedicated solely to community engagement. Another feature I believe is
being underutilized is the reviews section, which could be a great asset for
communication.
Flickr
I should preface this section by saying that I have never used Flickr and am not
extremely confident in how it works. In trying to follow the Flickr link from the
Facebook page and the link did not go anywhere. In Googling North Shore CDC Flickr,
there were a few accounts set up by outside parties, but I could not find one headed by
the actual organization.
Print Materials
Ironically, the print material has the exact opposite problem of the online
resources. All of the information is pertinent to community engagement on both the

January 2015 newsletter and the February 2015 Salem newsletter. However, the way that
the information is placed on the page is disorganized and causes the eye to wander all
over the page, in a bad way. Many areas have disjointed spacing and the lack of
consistency within the page, not necessarily between separate pieces, makes the
newsletter look unfinished and a bit ametuer.
Conclusions
Message Quality
Overall, the message quality has been good for the limited platforms the North
Shore CDC is using. It is tricky because there are multiple messages being projected,
from the overall organizations to the specific programs. I believe the more generalized
one is more represented.
Message Delivery
As far as the Community Engagement Program goes, the message delivery is
severely lacking. If the organization was able to use more specific avenues, such as a
facebook page dedicated to the program, to get the messages of the program across.
Audience Communication
The audience engagement was low across all social media sites. With just barely
over 500 likes and only four reviews, there is not a lot of interaction on the Facebook
page. There is slightly more on the Twitter page, perhaps due to the better organization of
that account.
Recommendations
Immediately

The organization reorganize the website as soon as possible to make it more user
friendly. Having the Community Engagement Program pop up in a separate window
when the link is clicked to cut down on confusion and allow for more navigation and
information into the program.
Soon
I would recommend encouraging interaction on the Facebook page. The reviews
section would be a great and convenient way for residents to give general feedback about
programs. The poll feature is also another efficient way to conduct research on how a
program would be received or what changes would be more anticipated than others.
As Time and Money Allow
The North Shore CDC should consider redesigning the layout of the print
materials for better organization and aesthetic appeal.

Works Cited
Creating a Vision, Strengthening a Community: A Vision and Action Plan for the Point
Neighborhood in Salem 2013 2020. Rep. City of Salem, Massachusetts, n.d. Web. 10
Feb. 2015.
<http://www.salem.com/pages/salemma_dpcd/studiesreports/pointvisionfinal.pdf>.