Communications Focal Points

To facilitate the collection of communications material, it is important to have staff focal points among volunteers and permanent staff, who can take charge of creating and archiving material. Office news, highlights, client stories, and other events for external publication should be recorded and saved for immediate or future use. This also applies to photographs taken at speaking events or newspaper articles written by staff/volunteers.

Asylum Access relies on designated staff or volunteer Communications Liasions.

What does a communications liaison (CL) do?

  • Works with communications team to bring news from their office or department to partners and supporters.
  • Information collection about office news, highlights, client stories and other events for external publication. This can be collected in Monthly Communications Reports to the communications team.
  • Enables communications staff to communicate effectively about the organization’s work through clear information, videos and photos.
  • A CL’s work puts a human face on our work beyond mere statistics — For example, client stories will show how legal aid impacts individual lives.

How can a CL’s work be used?

  • Regular social media posts to keep grassroots supporters engaged.
  • Published as content in Quarterly Newsletters and on your website.
  • Aids grant-writing and report-writing through making examples available to illustrate how your work is transformative.
  • Aids prospective partner engagement through illustrative examples in conversations, email follow-ups and donor campaign outreach.

Working with volunteer photographers

On occasion, the opportunity to work with a volunteer photographer or videographer may arise, whether among VLAs or external to your organization. Before working with them, ensure that activities are planned ahead of time, that they know what to expect and can get the learning experience they hope for in return for their time and skills. Independent photographers*, or photographers who may use their photos for personal purposes (i.e. their online portfolio, photo exhibits, or other projects), should sign a photographer agreement to give us permission to use their photos. Volunteers within the organization who are taking photographs exclusively for the organization’s use and would have no interest in using the photographs elsewhere for personal purposes do not need to sign a photographer agreement.

When working with a volunteer, independent photographer, please do:

(1) Get them to sign the Photographer Agreement (sample available for download below) to give us permission to use photos
(2) Confirm that they understand that this is a voluntary contribution, and
(3) Let them know in advance that they need their own separate waivers with clients to publish any photos on their website.

Unlike other volunteers, independent photographers volunteer solely to produce visual media. They may use photos for personal purposes like their online portfolio, photo exhibits and photojournalism projects. The terms “Independent photographers” better represents our relationship with them since they have greater autonomy over their work.

Further resources: