What is Outreach – It’s CEVI™

Outreach – we hear the term all the time. On the news how an organization has launched an Outreach initiative. Or – in a blog post how a company is Outreaching to their local community. Surely we are often sent information via traditional mail about healthcare Outreach events we “must attend.” But – what is Outreach? How do you define it? Is there a formal definition that applies today?

When I searched the definition of Outreach – Merriam-Webster’s was; the activity or process of bringing information or services to people. That’s pretty good – but not exactly how ThinkThroughTools defines Outreach.

Most recently – we have been seeking to create a simple – yet accurate definition of what we have been teaching and implementing for high impact over the past 16 years. See what you think;

Outreach is the process of helping your customers succeed by reaching out to communicate, educate, validate and inspire.  (CEVI™) Let’s get into some specifics;

  1. PROCESS – Outreach requires a great deal of think through before it is done. Above all – one must UNDERSTAND what customers crave and why. Then analyze this – set forth a strategy (with KIMs [Key Impact Metrics]) – then get to action – mobilize and execute your Outreach with the intent to ASTONISH! After all of this – of course you review and make necessary course corrections and adaptations. It’s a process.
  2. HELP YOUR CUSTOMERS SUCCEED. Please think this through a moment. Is your Outreach focused on helping your customers to succeed or primarily all about helping you to succeed? Sure – the long stream outcome must result in success for you and your organization – but – one of the most unique aspects about Outreach is – it is NOT about immediate gains for your organization. This is a long stream and enduring process where your customer’s success will lead to yours.
  3. REACHING OUT. There are more ways than ever to reach outside of your physical location or organization to encounter your target customers. “Back in the day” most Outreach was accomplished through events, meetings, get togethers in a physical site beyond the organization doing Outreach. A common example would be a hospital conducting a community health fair – literally at a county fair. This form greatly utilizes HUMAN resources. People connecting with people face to face. But – more than ever – we can force multiply our Outreach using DIGITAL channels and technologies. Webinars, High-Definition Live-Video-Streaming technologies and Social Media channels that seem to grow in number almost weekly. Each enable you to be REACHING OUT.
  4. COMMUNICATE. Effective Outreach is two-way! It is an exchange. It’s not about the pitch it is all about the catch. Here is where so many get it wrong. They believe they are Outreaching – when in fact they are aggressively selling or marketing – pushing one-way vs. true communication which is two-way. Sending and receiving. It’s a feedback loop.
  5. EDUCATE. Oh yes. The mother of all Outreach is education. Providing learning encounters that truly do amplify success for those to whom you are reaching out. The human and digital opportunities to accomplish this are infinite and essential.
  6. VALIDATE. High Impact Outreach always includes actions to let those involved know their lives, work or volunteer efforts have meaning. Most individuals crave validation and few organizations are consistent and committed to this. So you must be sure your Outreach includes a relentless commitment to validate those involved.
  7. INSPIRE. If you crave high impact Outreach to happen and you desire to generate indefatigable customer adhesion – then inspire! Motivation is internal and mostly beyond your control. However – if you truly want to differentiate your Outreach you do all you can to inspire. Use true stories, use music and song, use images and icons, use activities and energy to enable those involved to know what is possible and help them with their discovery and make progress to achieve their aspirations. The options are endless.

So – there you have it – Outreach defined. Yes – this is the basic definition and these are the basic key elements. These are foundational and essential. Once you assure that CEVI™ is part of your core Outreach – then the fun begins as you innovate and customize.

Your work is noble – know this. Now get out there and CEVI™!




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