Spreading the Load

Philippa Pearson-Glaze, West Midlands, United Kingdom

Managing an LLL Group is easier when you can share the work load between several Leaders. But what if you’re a lone Leader? Although some Group responsibilities are for Leaders only, there are many other jobs that can be shared with the parents in your Group. The Leader Handbook is a great resource for help with this. It suggests ways to approach mothers, how to match individuals with the right job and how to help Group workers get started.

The “Group Jobs” section in the Leader Handbook, LLLI, 2018 suggests:

  • Approach potential candidates individually. Many will be pleased that you have thought of asking them to take on such a role.
  • Make a general announcement to the Group and see who steps forward. Some might be reluctant to put themselves forward and may be more likely to say yes if you ask them specifically. However, you may find a suitable candidate whom you wouldn’t have thought to ask.
  • Use a combination of these approaches. Make an announcement to the Group and if no one volunteers, approach participants individually.
  • You could also approach likely candidates and let them know that you will be announcing the job to the Group, so that they have some time to think about it first.
  • If there are several jobs to fill, you could hold a Group “job fair” at an Evaluation Meeting. You could make up poster-sized help wanted ads and job descriptions. If the jobs look like fun, Group members will be eager to help out.
  • Think about matching individuals to Group jobs. Ask them what skills and experience they already have and what they might like to learn about.
  • A volunteer may be ready to begin with a short-term commitment, perhaps for just one series of meetings. At the end of that time you can ask about continuing.
  • Providing a complete job description will be helpful for the volunteer taking on a Group job.
  • Ask Group coordinators to report on their activities if you hold Evaluation Meetings and invite them to brainstorm ideas for improvements. You can re-evaluate job descriptions from time to time and incorporate new ideas as Group coordinators make suggestions. If you have a number of co-Leaders and coordinators, Leaders and Group coordinators can pair up to support each other and keep track of how responsibilities are met.
  • Encourage your team of Group coordinators. Their enthusiasm will be important for the smooth running of the Group. Maintain a positive attitude; your enthusiasm will be contagious.
  • Offer a Group job to each individual who attends a series of meetings and is eager to make a contribution to LLL. Take advantage of enthusiasm to become involved. If jobs are currently filled, consider job sharing, so that as many participants as possible are involved in the running of the Group.
  • Make an effort to get to know each attendee, so you can match individual skills to the needs of the Group.
  • Ask volunteers how much responsibility they will find comfortable. Let them know that whatever they are able to do is appreciated by you. Respect the limits that feel right to them and encourage them to put family first.
  • Talk about Group jobs at Evaluation Meetings to keep up enthusiasm. Encourage Group members to share their ideas. Talk about the positive aspects of working together and allow time for socializing, so that all enjoy their involvement in the Group.
  • Pay attention to Group coordinators. Include them in Group decisions. Thank Group workers for their important contribution. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts. 

The Leader Handbook also includes a comprehensive list of possible Group jobs to share out: it is recognised that LLL groups around the world will vary. One Group might look very different from another.

The Group Treasurer
  • Takes care of the Group’s financial transactions: writing receipts for monies received and retaining receipts for payments made
  • Sends member or donor information to your Area/Network/DCE [Direct Connect Entity], as per their procedures
  • Pays Leader dues and any Group affiliation fees as requested annually by your Area/Network/DCE
  • Handles bank transactions and/or accounting and transfers through the Area, according to Area financial procedures
  • Keeps financial records for the Group
  • Prepares Group orders (signed by a Leader)
  • Completes financial reports for the Leader to submit
  • Prepares an annual budget for Leader review

The Group Treasurer needs to be accurate and willing to give attention to detail. A financial background or bookkeeping experience is helpful but not necessary.

The Group Librarian
  • Sets up the Group Library for display at Series Meetings
  • Helps participants find and check out books appropriate to their needs
  • Keeps track of book circulation and follows up on overdue books
  • Keeps an inventory list of all books that belong to the Group
  • Prepares new books for the Library, affixes LLL reviews or qualifying statements inside, adds new book information to the inventory list
  • Buys library supplies when needed in consultation with a Group Leader; submits receipts to the Group Treasurer for reimbursement
  • May give a brief presentation at meetings on a new book or a book pertaining to the discussion topic
  • Offers home as the location for a series of meetings
  • Stores Group Library during the series if possible
  • Provides a beverage, cups, and napkins for refreshments at meetings
  • If the Group meets in a public place, arrives early to set up the meeting space and take care of clean-up at the end of the meeting
  • Welcomes participants and helps them with their belongings
  • Introduces newcomers to Leaders and to other Group members
  • Shows the location of the meeting area, Group Library, washrooms and snack table
  • Gives out name tags
  • Gives out welcome packages to newcomers
Refreshment Coordinator
  • Arranges for a participant to bring refreshments each month
  • Sets up the refreshment area at meetings
  • Pours and serves refreshments
Publicity Coordinator
  • Distributes meeting notices in the community
  • Contacts newspapers about Series Meetings and special events
  • Develops display of LLL materials for community events
  • In some Groups, a Publicity Coordinator, with your guidance, takes responsibility for increasing the visibility of LLL in the community
Group Newsletter Editor
  • Works with the Leader(s) to develop and distribute newsletter to Group members
  • Sends a copy of the newsletter to Area personnel (Leader Support Team/Area Coordinator of Leaders) and responds to any review comments
Bulletin Board/Scrapbook/Facebook Page Coordinator
  • Organizes displays of posters and materials on the meeting topic and announcements
  • Maintains a Group scrapbook and/or photo album
  • Works with Publicity Coordinator on displays for community events, conforming to exhibit guidelines. (A Leader must always be present to represent LLL at community events.)
  • The Facebook Page Coordinator can: Post events and publicity for the Group; post LLL links and memes; be an administrator (admin) if there are also Leader admins; comment, be supportive and alert Leaders to threads where their help is needed
  • A non-Leader should not speak for LLL or offer advice
Fundraising Coordinator
  • Coordinates Group fundraising efforts
  • Coordinates World Breastfeeding Week and other fundraiser events
  • Keeps track of meeting attendance
  • Reminds potential participants about upcoming meetings
  • Ensures that sign-in sheets are available for meetings
  • Handles Group mailings
  • Takes and distributes minutes of any formal meetings such as Group planning meetings.

The first chapters of the Leader Handbook will soon be available to read and download on the LLLI website.
The 2003 version in several languages is currently available here https://llli.org/leader-pages/leader-handbook/.

Philippa Pearson-Glaze has been a Leader since 2002 and is currently the Managing Editor for Leader Today. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant working in private practice in England and owner/editor of Breastfeeding.Support.