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This publicity guide is to assist you in the vital job of informing the public about your volunteer
program. If people do not know who you are, where you are, when you are available, and how
you can help, then there is little likelihood you will be asked to assist.

This year, the need for your assistance is greater than it has ever been. It is essential that
someone in your organization take on the important task of informing the public.

The Franchise Tax Board plans to publicize the program on a statewide basis with news releases
and radio and television public service announcements. The community effort will be your job.

If you have questions about the program, contact your Franchise Tax Board Volunteer Program


Local newspapers are one of the best ways to publicize your program. Small and medium-sized
newspapers particularly welcome releases that provide information about a service for people in
their readership areas.

A. Prepare the Release

Each release should be typed double-spaced. Do not leave anything for the Editor to do
except to put a headline on it and put it in the paper.

Names make news, so mention as many names as you reasonably can in your releases.
If you have a relatively small number of volunteers, list them all in at least one release.

One of the first things you should do is make up a Fact Sheet listing the essential facts:
(see sample)

· The service to be provided.

· Who will be providing it.

· Your qualifications (your training and experience).

· List the responsible persons or officers. If feasible, include a list of the


· Where you will provide the service.

· Whether you will have a telephone.

· Days and hours you will be operating and the period of time.

· Who you will be helping.

· How the service will work. People will be expected to bring their
instruction booklets and forms, income records, etc.

Add anything else of interest about your group and your service and anything useful about
the sponsoring organization, such as:

· How many years you have been in operation.

· How many people you helped last year. How many you hope to help this

· How many volunteer centers are operating statewide and how many
volunteers have been trained.

· How many people are expected to receive assistance from volunteers.

· Anything else the newspaper or person would want to know about you
and your service.

B. Visit to a Paper, Take a News Release and Fact Sheet

1. Who to See

When you contact a relatively small newspaper, ask to see the Editor but be
prepared to talk with whomever is available. When contacting a medium-sized or
large paper, ask to see the City Editor or News Editor. The Editor may assign a
reporter to your story or may just take your release and Fact Sheet. In some
cases, due to security restrictions, you may have to leave the release with the
security guard or the receptionist. If this is the case, ask him/her to be sure that
the story gets to the City or News Editor.

2. What to Say

Since we do not know exactly what you will be asked, we do not know what you
will need to say. The best advice is to be prepared. The Fact Sheet and news
release should answer most questions. Be as knowledgeable as you can about
the program. Say, "I have a news item about the HRA Volunteer Program which
assists the elderly and handicapped." Avoid using the word "publicity." Publicity is
offensive in many newsrooms because it implies free advertising.

3. Lead Time

Figure out when you would like your publicity to start and time your calls on
newspapers according to that date. It's a good idea to give a paper about two
week’s lead-time to run a release.

4. What About Pictures

Always consider possibilities for a picture. Look at your local paper to see what
sort of pictures it runs. Once an Editor has accepted your story, ask if the paper
would send a photographer to your office to take pictures of volunteers in action,
or mention it as a follow up to the story they run. Better yet, line up a good
picture situation and tell the paper about it.

Consider doing some of your own pictures. There are many good amateur
photographers around, if you don't happen to be one yourself. Most papers
welcome black and white pictures -- they don't have staff to do everything, and
their photographers can't be everywhere.

Papers like clear, sharp, glossy pictures, preferably showing action. Most papers
use enlargements: 5" x 7" or 7" x 9" or 8" x 10." When you provide a paper with a
good picture, you are increasing the chance that it will be used.


Material for radio is different from material prepared for newspapers. Radio writing is designed for
the ear rather than the eye. You can be less formal when writing for radio than for newspapers.

A. News Release

You can and should take your news releases to radio stations in the same form as for
newspapers and try to have them handled as news items on radio news shows.

B. Public Service Announcements

In addition, radio stations do public service announcements.

Public service announcements (PSAs) are brief statements of the essential facts about
your service -- once again -- Who? What? Where? When? and, to the extent appropriate,
Why? and How?

Radio stations budget their time, just as newspapers budget their space. So PSAs must
be kept short to be used. Thirty seconds of public service time for a PSA is the most you
can expect.

After you have a good thirty-second PSA, compress it into twenty seconds. Having both
will give stations in your area alternatives from which to choose to suit their needs.

PSAs should be typewritten double-spaced on the right side of the page, leaving a very
wide margin on the left side.

C. Visit the Radio Stations In Your Community, Take Fact Sheet, News Release and PSAs

1. Who to See

Ask to see the Program Director if you are contacting a small to medium-sized
station. Larger stations may have special Directors of Public Service or Directors
of Community Service.

2. What to Say

Be prepared to answer questions regarding the program and to accept

suggestions. Have your Fact Sheet with you as well as your releases and PSAs.
Keep in mind that radio stations are somewhat more flexible than newspapers
and offer a wider variety of ways to publicize the Volunteer Program.

3. Lead Time

Radio station personnel receive numerous requests for public service time. So get
your copy to them well in advance if possible -- at least two weeks before you
want them to carry it.

Many radio stations want to provide public service time for worthwhile community
services and other activities of interest to people within their audience areas. They
find that good public service programs increase their audiences.

Stations have many ways of doing this. They have talk shows and interview
shows. Telephone shows are popular -- people phone in to ask questions, state
their views or comment on developments. Stations record interviews in their
studios or over the phone and also send reporters out to take statements.

You might be asked to tape a short statement, to answer questions in a live or

taped interview, or to take part in an interview. People are interested in what you
have to say and in the service you are providing.

It's not hard to make a short statement for radio. Recruit the most knowledgeable
person in your organization (yourself and/or others) who is capable and willing to
make such a statement.

Remember to be aware of the audience of a particular radio station. Well-placed

PSAs can help you reach the people who need your services.


A. Referral by Local Leaders

An excellent way to spread the word about the Volunteer Program is through referral by
local leaders (clergy, prominent citizens, local government officials, educators and any
other people who have contact with large groups). It is best to visit these people in
person. But if this isn't possible, contact them by phone or in writing. Usually they will
respond well to the opportunity to publicize a public service.

Be prepared to answer any questions they may have regarding the HRA Volunteer
Program. Have the Fact Sheet handy or send it to them.

B. Bulletin Boards, Posters and Flyers

Bulletin boards are found just about everywhere. Take advantage of this form of publicity.
Messages posted on a bulletin board should be brief and contain answers to the questions
Who, What, When and Where.

Posters are available through your Volunteer Program Coordinator. The best places for
them are in store windows, libraries, churches, banks, senior citizen homes, etc.
Permission should always be obtained prior to putting up posters.

Try to keep track of the locations where posters were placed. At some point during the
season it may be helpful or necessary to change the date, location or hours of your
volunteer site. Keeping all your publicity current is important to avoid wasted time by you
and your clients.

C. Public Speaking

Ask for dates to speak to service clubs, luncheon groups, adult education classes, church
groups or lodges where the audience may be interested in your program. If you are able
to talk interestingly in front of a group for a few minutes, make these presentations
yourself. If you don't like to talk to groups, or if you can't do them all yourself, recruit
others to speak.

Any local activity provides a good setting for talking about a community service. If you
know of such a group, call them or go in person and ask if they would be interested in a
guest speaker to talk about the Volunteer Program.

Program chairpersons of organizations are usually delighted to have an offer of someone

to talk about something different. They'll usually be glad to give you 10 or 15 minutes.
Similarly, schools and churches usually are pleased to have the chance to make
announcements of public interest. Give special consideration to organizations or senior
citizens and activities concentrating on low-income persons and families.


Once your program is off and running, continue your publicity campaign. Here are some

A. Issue a release on the success of your program: how many claim forms you have
successfully prepared, interesting people who come in or interesting cases (without
mentioning names, of course, unless you have explicit permission).

B. If you have a good speaker, send him or her out to tell your story. Issue a news release
before or after as many appearances as you can.

C. Endorsements: Get your mayor, banker, clergy, city council, etc. to make statements or
adopt resolutions for publication about your program.

D. You may wish to prepare a release on the age and/or experience of the volunteers. If you
work through a senior citizens group, capitalize on your age as a reflection of the fact that
you've been around.

E. Check to see if the posters you put up are still there or need revisions.

F. Do a wrap-up release as the end of the filing season approaches: How many people have
you helped? How many volunteers have worked? What else can you tell people that's


You can have the greatest mousetrap ever invented, but people won't beat a path to your door if
they don't hear about it. People MUST know about the program in order to use it.

To publicize your program successfully, use your ingenuity, and the directions, suggestions and
material in this packet.

It may be a temptation to think that the media and the community already know about you. They
probably don't. Their resources are limited, and they depend on people like you to tell them about
interesting things that are going on.

What you are doing is important. It's worthwhile and it's an example of citizen participation in
government. You should be proud of yourselves and let others know it.



For additional information contact:

Your name
Your organization
Phone number


(Start copy here, one-third down on the page on white paper. Type and double-space the copy

using one and one-half inch margins. Don't break a paragraph over to the next page. End the first page at

the end of a paragraph and type (more) at the bottom, and then continue on the second page, if

necessary. Type on only one side of the paper. End the news story with a series of # # # marks.)



For further information, contact:

(Mark Smith, HRA Volunteer Program Coordinator, or

Marjorie Casey, Public Relations Coordinator)
(1115 Speedy Ave.)
(Redondo Beach, CA)
(Phone: 449-6755)
(May 31, 1999)



Free Homeowner and Renter claim assistance is being offered to (Redondo

Beach) residents through the Homeowner and Renter Assistance (HRA) Volunteer

Program, sponsored by (Area 11 Agency on Aging).

(Mark Smith), coordinator of the (Redondo Beach) program, said community

volunteers are trained in claim preparation by the Franchise Tax Board. Volunteers can

handle most of the problems involved in filling out the claims," (Smith) said.


Assistance is available from (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the cafeteria of Saint

Joseph's Church, 1911 Currey Way, Redondo Beach, CA).

Claimants who want free help should bring the instruction booklets and forms they

received in the mail, as well as other records and documents, such as proof of age or

disability, income records, and their tax bill if a homeowner.

"This program was initiated (eight) years ago, to increase the availability of service

to people within our community," (Smith) said.

For more information about the service, call the (Redondo Beach) volunteer office

at (449-6755).



Para mas informacion, comuniquesa con:

(Mark Smith, Coordinator del Programa do Voluntarios para la Asistencia a duenos de

Casa e inquilinos, o
Marjorie Casey, Coordinadora de Relaciones Publicas)
(1115 Speedy Av)
(Redondo Beach, CA)
(Telefono: 449-6755)
(Mayo 31, 1999)

Para circulacion inmediata



Se ofrece a los residentes de (Redondo Beach) asistencia gratuita con los

reclamos de duenos de casa e inquilinos mediante un programa de voluntarios patrocinado

por (Area 11 Agency on aging).

(Mark Smith), coordinador del programa en (Redondo Beach) dijo, "los voluntarios

de la comunidad estan instruidos en la preparacion de los reclamos por el Franchise Tax

Board. Los voluntarios pueden asistir al publico con la mayoria de los problemas basicos

involucrados en la preparacion de los reclamos."


Se puede obtener ayuda en (la cafeteria de la Iglesia de San Jose, 1911 Currey

Way, Redondo Beach de 8 am hasta las 4 PM.)

Las personas que requieren asistencia gratuita deben traer consigo el panfleto de

formularios e instrucciones que recibieron por correo, y tambien documentos pertinentes

como prueba de edad o incapacidad, documentos de ingresos, y su factura de impuestos

sobre propiedad por el ano si es dueno de casa. El reclamo del ano anterior tambien

ayudara, si es obtenible.

Este programa fue iniciado hace (ocho) anos con la intencion de aumentar los

servicios publicos disponibles en nuestra comunidad, "dijo (Smith).

Para informacion adicional sobre el servicio, llame a la oficina de voluntarios de

(Redondo Beach), numero telefonico (449-6755).




For additional information contact:

(Mark Smith, HRA Volunteer Program Coordinator, or Marjorie

Casey, Public Relations Coordinator)
(1115 Speedy Ave.)
(Redondo Beach, CA)
(Phone: 449-6755)
(May 1, 1999)

(Spanish-Chinese-Other) speaking taxpayers can get free help with Homeowner

and Renter Assistance clams starting (May 17, 1999).

The assistance is being offered by volunteers who have been trained by the

Franchise Tax Board and who are able to speak (Spanish-Chinese-Other).

The volunteer assistance site is located at (Community Church at 123 Main Street)

and office hours are (Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

The volunteers have been trained to help with claim forms and have backup

support from the Franchise Tax Board.


When visiting the volunteer site claimants should bring the instruction booklets and

forms they received in the mail, as well as important records and documents, such as

proof of age or disability, income records, and their property tax bill if they are a

homeowner. Prior year claim forms are also helpful, if available.

For information about the service or to make an appointment, interested persons

should call (999-0000).



(Type, double-spaced, substituting local data for information in parentheses.)


WHAT & WHO: The Homeowner and Renter Assistance (HRA) Volunteer Program gives free help in

preparing Homeowner and Renter Assistance claim forms for qualified persons 62

years or older, blind or disabled, senior citizens and low-income persons. It is

sponsored by the (American Association of Retired Persons).

WHERE & WHEN: Volunteer assistants trained by the Franchise Tax Board help claimants (weekdays from

9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from February 1 through April 15, in the lobby of the First

National Bank, 1005 Friendly Drive).

HOW: Homeowners and Renters Assistance volunteers help taxpayers fill out their own claim


WHY: The program increases the service available to people in communities that are not close

to Franchise Tax Board offices. There are many senior citizens and low-income

persons in the (Buttonwillow) area, and an estimated (300) blind or disabled

persons, many of who may need claim preparation help.



1. Proper form:

Name of organization.
Name of person submitting copy.
Address and telephone number.
Date copy is delivered.
Dates copy is to run.

(This information should be placed in either corner at

top of page.)

2. Only one announcement per page -- 8 1/2" by 11" paper, one side only.

3. Copy should be timed to station preference. 25 words = 10 seconds; 50 words = 20 seconds; 75

words = 30 seconds.

4. All copy should be written in the third person: The program is...; he said...; she did...; Brown
reported.... But it is OK to refer to people you help in either the second or third person: "Program to
help senior citizens" (third person), or "If you are a senior citizen and you'd like help," or "You need
help" (second person).

5. Street names, titles, etc., should be written out fully. Abbreviations can be confusing.

6. Copy should arrive at station well in advance of release date -- two weeks or so if feasible.

7. Copy should be addressed to Program Director or person originally contacted.


(Type triple-spaced, substituting local data for information in



(Homeowner and Renter Assistance)

(John Smith, Coordinator)
(1111 Free Service Road)
(Buttonwillow, CA 93206)
(Phone: 999-6666)
(Date: May 4, 1999)

(Starting week of May 17 through August 31)


ANNCR: Need help with your Homeowner and Renter Assistance

claim forms? Free help is available. Volunteers will assist

you on weekdays from (9:00 am to 3:00 PM starting June 1

in the lobby of the First National Bank, 1005 Friendly Drive).

These are community volunteers trained by the Franchise

Tax Board. Bring this year's forms, income records and your

property tax bill if a homeowner. Claimants should also bring

proof of age or disability documents.



(Escriba a maquina dejando dos renglones entre medio y substituyendo informacion entre parentesis por
informacion local.)


(Asistencia Voluntaria de Impuestos)

(John Smith, Coordinator)
(1111 Free Service Road)
(Buttonwillow, CA 93206)
(Telefono 999-6666)
(Fecha Mayo 4, 1999)

Fara Uso

(empezando la semana de Mayo 17 hasta Agosto 31)

Tiempo: 10 Segundos


Necesita ayunda con su reclamo para duenos de casa e inquilinos? Ayuda gratis

es disponible.

Voluntarios le asistiran de (9:00 am hasta las 3:00 PM en el salon de entrada del

First National Bank, 1005 Friendly Drive.) Estos voluntarios de la comunidad son

instruidos por el Franchise Tax Board. Traigan sus formularios, documentos de

ingreso y su factura de impuestos sobre propiedad si es dueno de casa.

Reclamantes deben traer prueba de edad o incapacidad.



Q. What is the Homeowner and Renter Volunteer Assistance Program?

A. It's a program to provide free help in preparing the Homeowner and Renter Assistance claim forms.
Offices are located throughout California and are staffed by volunteers. The program is sponsored
locally by ____________.

Q. What are the qualifications of the volunteers?

A. Volunteers are trained by the Franchise Tax Board.

Q. What will the program accomplish?

A. (1) It provides a valuable service to others in the community who do not have the means to travel
to a Franchise Tax Board office or to pay for professional help.

(2) It uses the skills, talents and energies of volunteers to help people who need help.

(3) It helps bridge the gap between government and the people by providing necessary public
service at little cost.

Q. How successful is the program?

A. Very successful. Last year volunteers helped over 30,000 claimants. This year we think the number
will be even more. Another real benefit is that people who have been reluctant to seek assistance are
going to the volunteers in their communities. One reason the program has been favorably received by
people is that assistance is offered at places where they customarily go and can go conveniently.

Q. Was it difficult to find volunteers?

A. No. As a matter of fact, we were able to find more than enough volunteers. Many of these
volunteers are retired accountants and professional business people who already had a good
understanding of the claim forms. However, we are always in need of interested and qualified

Q. Where do people call for help?

A. They can call the local volunteer office at (PHONE NUMBER), the Franchise Tax Board or the Senior
Information and Referral Center number listed in the telephone directory.

Q. Will you help anyone who asks?

A. Assistance is available to everyone who thinks they may qualify, generally persons either 62 years of
age or older, blind or disabled with an income under $33,993.

Q. What should people bring when they come for assistance?

A. Proof of age or disability, income records and their property tax bill if they own a home. If they receive
instruction booklets and claim forms through the mail, they should bring these also. A copy of last
year's claim would be helpful if available.

FTB 9435 (NEW 04-2000)