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Leagues who have used the membership recruitment best practices have reported that one of the key components of their success is being more visible in their communities.
By having a consistent presence in the public eye, Leagues are able to reinforce the value of membership in the organization and debunk the myth that we are an elections-time only organization.
Remember, it often takes 7 – 8 times for a message to really sink in and for someone to take action, such as joining the League. Holding public events, gaining media coverage for them, and working with allied groups are proven ways for Leagues to communicate their membership message.
This section of the handbook is designed to provide Leagues with resources about specific events or activities that can help Leagues gain visibility. The a la carte menu of turnkey opportunities provided here is full of recommended activities. Some are large scale events whose primary goal is to generate visibility and provide opportunities for media outreach, such as the Making Democracy Work Award program, and others are more simple ways to assist Leagues in being visible every month of the year, such as press templates for Leagues to customize.
Leagues know their own communities best and most Leagues are likely to have a full calendar of events planned. We encourage all Leagues to look at their own calendars first to see where some of the outreach best practices can be added to their planned activities. However, as you’ll read in the success stories, the activities included in the handbook have been tried and tested.
Doing Consistent Outreach Activities Year Round:
• Ensures that Leagues are consistently present in the community throughout the year
• Debunks the myth that we are an elections-time only organization
• Establishes a sustainable and successful calendar of activities that supports growth
• Provides opportunities for Leagues to introduce the organization to new audiences
• Provides platforms for Leagues to explain and reinforce the value of being a member of LWV
• Offers chances to extend invitations to individuals to join
Leagues are encouraged to use the information in the following pages to fill in their calendars or use these ideas to build upon what is already planned.
Calendar of Media Hooks
Below is a list of potential media hooks adapted from the LWV national calendar available on www.lwv.org. These are nationally recognized dates and anniversaries that offer local Leagues opportunities to be visible in the community. They are an excuse to engage local media to help build stronger relationships.
LWVUS uses these same milestones to issue statements to the media, and often a template for local Leagues to customize is also available. These templates, which are updated annually, are distributed via the weekly Leaders’ Update and posted on www.lwv.org. Some sample templates from past years are included on the CD for your reference.
Marking these anniversaries or milestones – by issuing a media statement or in some other way – helps to ensure that the League is in the public’s eye consistently.
Annual Media Hooks:
• Start of new legislative session
• Inauguration/State of Union Address
• 9th- Carrie Chapman Catt’s Birthday
• Youth Voter Month
• 14th – League Birthday
• Women’s History Month
• 8th – International Women’s Day
• 15th -21st – Sunshine Week
• 15th – Tax Day (Remember to check the box for public financing)
• 19th -25th – National Volunteer Week
• 22nd – Earth Day
• 1st – Law Day
• 10th – Mother’s Day
• Announce program and leadership outcomes after Annual Meetings (local, state, and national)
• 23rd - Anniversary of the Enactment of Title IX
• 4th – Freedom of Information Act anniversary
• 19th-20th - Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention
• 26th – Women’s Equality Day/ Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment
• Voter Registration Month
• 17th – Constitution Day
• Voter Education Month
• 24th – United Nations Day
• Election Day
• 15th – Bill of Rights Day