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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

June 8, 2021

Direct vs. Indirect Contacts: What's the Difference?

Submitted by Laurie Chandler

Extension professionals utilize a variety of strategies to deliver educational programming including face-to-face meetings, virtual presentations, one-on-one consultations, and social media. All are effective strategies but require us to report our efforts differently.

As part of the annual reporting requirements, NIFA requires extension professionals to report direct and indirect educational contacts. But what is the difference between the two?

Direct contacts are when both the extension professional and the client/receiver are linked together at the same time and/or place for educational purposes. Examples include:

  • Individual consultations in the field or office
  • Face-to-face interactions in group meetings, workshops, virtual meetings, field days, classrooms, etc.
  • Individual correspondence by letter, email, or telephone

Indirect contacts preclude interaction. Newsletters, radio, TV and most social media are typically considered an indirect contact because you don’t know who is actually viewing or reading your information. For example, you can send newsletters to 1,000 people, but you can’t be sure it is being read by everyone.

More information about reporting direct/indirect contacts and how to report them in PEARS can be found in the KSRE Client Contact Reporting document and in the PEARS Support resources.