Reaching hard-to-reach audiences

University of Missouri Extension programs are designed to serve the needs of diverse populations. As Missouri's population changes, we must look for new ways to reach these new audiences.

Who are the hard-to-reach audiences?

  1. Socially disadvantaged individuals and families. Adults with the least amount of formal education are hardest to reach.
  1. Older adults. As people grow older, they are less likely to participate in continuing education.
  1. Isolated adults. This includes those with chronic illness, physical disability or inadequate transportation.

Taking the first steps to reach new audiences

Identify hard-to-reach audiences in your county.

  • Which groups of people may find it difficult to participate in extension programs?
  • What actions can councils and staff take to make it easier for these groups to participate in current educational programs?
  • What potential programs would help meet some of the educational needs of these audiences?

List communication methods used to inform specific groups of people about programs.

  • Which media (newspaper columns, radio, etc.) or other methods (posters, flyers, brochures, newsletters) are used to promote programs?
  • Are these communications reaching the hard-to-reach audiences you have identified?
  • What other methods could be used to communicate with these audiences (community groups, churches, etc.)?

Invite members of hard-to-reach groups to become involved in local extension programming.

Source: G.G. Darkenwald and G.A. Larson (1980). New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, No. 8. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass