Marketing, Outreach, and Recruitment

Spreading the Word within Your Communities and Network

A range of marketing materials for VISTA sponsors is available on the Sponsor a VISTA page. Materials include print and digital resources from brochures, posters, and fact sheets to logos, photos, and impact graphics. Customizable flyers are available, as well as free recruitment gear such as pens, bumper stickers, and tote bags for outreach purposes.

The Communications Guide for AmeriCorps and Senior Corps has guidelines and resources to enhance engagement and announcement ideas, improve social media posts, and bolster your storytelling across digital and traditional media. Related resources are available on the CNCS Newsroom’s page for Communication Resources.

The AmeriCorps & Senior Corps Official Branding Guidance outlines requirements for using the AmeriCorps brand. Sponsors are responsible for securing permission from their VISTA members to use their photos, images, words, voice, or other likeness for marketing or outreach purposes.

Acknowledgment of VISTA and CNCS

Community members and legislators are interested in the impact of federal dollars in their areas, and VISTA sponsors are responsible for acknowledging VISTA and CNCS as financial supporters of their organizations. When recognizing the good work of VISTA members, it is critical to identify them as such and acknowledge CNCS as a funder. This includes referencing VISTA and CNCS on the sponsor’s website, on business cards for VISTA members, on annual reports and other published materials, at events, in newspaper articles, and during radio and television presentations.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA sponsor, all digital properties, media materials, and other relevant items should reflect your association with AmeriCorps VISTA and CNCS. The beginning of your new program year is a great time to inventory your properties and materials to ensure they appropriately reflect your national service affiliation. Here are prime examples of how to implement AmeriCorps VISTA branding:

  • Prominently display the standard AmeriCorps VISTA logo on websites, most notably in “About Us” and staff listing sections
  • Use standardized language to describe the program in press releases and other public documents to identify the organization as an AmeriCorps VISTA sponsor with AmeriCorps VISTA members
  • Display branded signs or posters at all sites where AmeriCorps VISTA members are serving, especially those which elected officials or private-sector partners visit
  • Include the AmeriCorps VISTA logo on gear that you create for your organization’s VISTA members, such as business cards and email signatures

Sharing the Member Stories

We encourage you and your organization to share stories about your AmeriCorps VISTA members’ experiences. The best way to promote the AmeriCorps VISTA experience is through the words and narratives of our members and alums. There are many ways you can support AmeriCorps VISTA members and alums in learning to tell their stories. Use your social media platforms as well as local print and digital media to spread the word. Below are a few key ways to solicit input from your AmeriCorps VISTA members and alums:

  • Share what led you to become a VISTA member. Here is an opportunity to share what inspires you to serve.
  • Share the impact of your service on the community. You can do this through sharing an anecdotal story and/or statistics that show the significance of the work.
  • If a current VISTA member, share what you will do after your service year. This is a chance to share the skills attained through service and how you plan to apply them in the future.
  • If a VISTA alum, share how your service shaped your future (professionally and/or personally).
  • If you started an organization because of your service, be sure to include that as well.

Branding Guidance

The Three ‘R’s of Branding

Reasons

It is important that we brand all AmeriCorps supported programs so we can call attention to the innovative work you are doing in communities across the country. These materials can be used to showcase your community impact.

Requirements

Branding AmeriCorps VISTA is fundamental, basic, essential, and required. AmeriCorps VISTA sponsors are required to verify that all digital properties, media materials, and other relevant items reflect their association with AmeriCorps VISTA. The beginning of your recruitment cycle is a great time to inventory your properties and materials to ensure they appropriately reflect your national service affiliation.

Resources

CNCS offers an array of available AmeriCorps VISTA and CNCS branding resources on our website.

Reasons to Brand AmeriCorps VISTA

There are many reasons to brand AmeriCorps VISTA:

  • Sustainability: Affiliating with AmeriCorps VISTA provides a "seal of approval" to help programs generate private resources and achieve their match, stretching the return on federal investment
  • Esprit de corps: Knowing that you are part of a large national movement and not just a small local project has positive impacts on morale, productivity, teamwork, and continuing service
  • Recruitment: Maintaining a diverse high-quality applicant pool to fill over 8,000 AmeriCorps VISTA positions requires continual promotion of opportunities
  • Lifelong Service: Building a successful AmeriCorps VISTA alumni movement will not be possible unless members understand what AmeriCorps VISTA is and how they are part of it

Branding is our opportunity to create something with lasting impact. It is how we tell our story of service and community impact, and it is the key to our success.

Resources and Recommendations

CNCS and AmeriCorps VISTA branding resources are available to all AmeriCorps grantees on our website. Camera-ready AmeriCorps and CNCS logos and other branded materials are downloadable here.  

Electronic CNCS and AmeriCorps VISTA branded materials are available for your use and include logos, photos, fact sheet template, press release template, and more. CNCS also offers free public outreach and education resources such as posters, bookmarks, and stickers. Visit CNCS’s Share Our Impact page for downloadable images that can be easily printed and shared.

Go to the CNCS Ordering System or look under the Marketing Materials area of the Sponsor a VISTA Member page to order national service materials. Send an email to VISTAOutreach@cns.gov with any questions. Sponsors are responsible for securing permission from their VISTA members to use their photos, images, words, voice, or other likeness for marketing or outreach purposes.

Here is a quick list of resources and how best to use them for your program.

Logo

CNCS’s website has the AmeriCorps VISTA logos that you should use to brand any newsletters, signage, and collateral that you create for your program. The logo should be included in any item produced that mentions VISTA.

Website Reference

Prominently display your organization’s connection to AmeriCorps VISTA on your website. Use the AmeriCorps VISTA logo, link to our official website, and include your program narrative. This helps connect your organization to AmeriCorps.

Press Releases

Press releases help you pitch local media about your organization receiving AmeriCorps VISTA members. All press releases should directly reference AmeriCorps VISTA. When you plan press engagement or make pitches, please notify the Press Office at pressoffice@cns.gov and VISTAOutreach@cns.gov.

Gear and Branded Items

All full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a branded polo and lapel pins. Site signs and additional materials are available at no cost through the CNCS publications site. You can also order a variety of branded shirts, pins, patches, and more here.  

Social Media

When using social media channels to amplify your work related to AmeriCorps VISTA, use #AmeriCorpsVISTA and #IamVISTA. Include photos and videos to further draw attention to your impact, and tag our accounts listed below:

More social media guidance is available on the National Service Social Media Hub.

Photography

Showcase AmeriCorps VISTA by using dynamic photos that convey impact, branding (“Display the A!”), and are easy to understand. Use photos to tell your story online by connecting with our social media sites. Whenever possible, try to feature AmeriCorps VISTA members and Leaders serving in their official blue-branded polo shirts. Sponsors are responsible for securing permission from their VISTA members to use their photos, images, words, voice, or other likeness for marketing or outreach purposes.

Co-Branding

Your organization does great work! AmeriCorps VISTA members help make it happen. Displaying our brands side-by-side reinforces our partnership, and ties your work into the narrative of powerful service nationwide.

Visits from Elected Officials and Corporate Partners

Prominently display the AmeriCorps VISTA logo in key locations when elected officials, corporate partners, and other key constituencies visit your site. Staff, volunteers, and program participants should be prepared to talk about the impact of your program.