Rachel Brown Kirkland, Dalton, Georgia, USA
It was April 2017 and I had prepared for hours to lead my first meeting as a fresh-out-of-the-package, newly minted, La Leche League Leader. I set out chairs, laid snacks neatly on the table, hung our LLL banner on the door and sat down and waited. Since my co-Leader was unable to attend that day, I would be leading alone.
I waited … and waited … and waited.
At 30 minutes past the hour, I debated going home. At 45 minutes past, I began packing things away but with a new plan. If the breastfeeding community didn’t know to come to us, we would go to them.
Armed with a stack of meeting flyers, I began making the rounds to anywhere I could think of where families might go. I visited our town’s crisis pregnancy center, community center, pediatrician offices and obstetrician offices to ask if they would display flyers. Most were happy to accommodate and the results paid off.
At the next meeting, we were visited by two new attendees, both of whom have become very active in our Group. A year later, one is interested in leadership. Both are active in promoting LLL in our community.
Our Group has been small for many years and remains so, but never since that time have we had a meeting with no attendees!
If you are looking for places to reach those who might not know about your Group, here are ten suggestions:
- Doctors’ waiting rooms. These can include pediatric care offices as well as those for general practitioners and others. What better way to reach the right audience?
- Antenatal care clinics. Many mothers want breastfeeding information before the baby is born, but not everyone considers attending an LLL Series Meeting while pregnant. Reach them early with flyers posted around the office or clinic.
- Pregnancy centers. Many mothers-to-be turn to pregnancy centers for support and counseling when an unexpected pregnancy or situation arrives. Let them know there is support out there for those who want to breastfeed.
- Libraries. These gathering places often have bulletin boards advertising community meetings and events.
- Mothers’ groups. Some are based on real-life meetings. Others are virtual communities that gather on Facebook or Instagram. Identify the groups in your area and ask organizers to share meeting and Leader contact information with their members.
- Public health departments/offices. Many mothers receive various forms of government support in the postpartum months. Let them know about LLL’s support as well.
- Facebook. If you don’t have a Facebook page, make one and use it to promote your meetings as “events” that can be publicly shared. Today’s mothers are digital natives who often turn to the Internet before anyone else.
- The local newspaper. Newspapers often run meeting notices free of charge in print and online. Publicizing meetings this way is often a simple process.
- Public parks. Many community centers, recreational centers, parks and other public spaces have bulletin boards used for promoting community events and resources. Always check your local rules and guidelines before posting.
- Local radio stations, particularly those in small towns, are often happy to read short meeting announcements free of charge. It’s worth checking out your options.
Rachel Brown Kirkland is a La Leche League leader in Dalton, Georgia, USA, where she lives with her husband and four-year-old son.