Divine in Purpose and Plan
Lawrence KS USA
Hoisington KS USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 42 No. 1, February-March 2006, p. 10.
The saying "many hands make light work" is one that captures the essence of collaboration, with each person doing what she can to make a dream come to reality. The World Breastfeeding Week Celebration (WBWC) in the USA is an example of many Leaders doing what they can to make the national celebration a success. All of the individual efforts contribute to the overall success.
Success can be measured in many different ways. If the event was a fundraiser, success can be measured in the profits brought in for the effort extended. It can also be measured by increasing the donor base for the event. If the event's purpose was to raise awareness of breastfeeding in the local community, success can be measured in people at the event or the number of media exposures. Was a Web site used to advertise the event? If so, the number of hits to the Web site might be a good measure of effectiveness. If the event's purpose was to develop a deeper sense of community among the mothers and their families attending the Series Meetings, success could be measured in terms of increased memberships sold, greater attendance at meetings, or even a willingness to take on Group tasks. If the event was intended to raise awareness of the local Group, asking new mothers at the Series Meetings how they found out about the local meeting might be an ideal way to measure success.
Measuring the effectiveness of any event can be done in many ways and knowing the purpose of the event is key to measuring if the events met its goals. In other words, did it do what was intended? If the event was not intended as a large fundraiser, it might be demoralizing to compare the total income to an event that was intended to raise large sums of money. If the event was not meant to increase the community's awareness of breastfeeding, it would be inappropriate to evaluate the event in terms of new mothers at the Series Meetings. The variety of events used around the US to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week indicates that the purposes are just as varied.
Candace Hill of Evanston, Illinois, USA shared that the Natural Baby Fair that their Group exhibited at as part of World Breastfeeding Week was designed to publicize the local LLL Group, to highlight the materials available from LLLI, and to network with the other organizations at the Fair. While disappointed about the low book sales at the exhibit, the true purpose was to raise awareness of LLL and network. Candace also used colorful donation flyers to post on the walls when someone donated a dollar. The visual was very effective at raising some funds as people could see what their dollar did immediately: it got their name or the name of someone they loved on the wall for others to see. The funds raised will be used to support the local Group's operations. This event can be considered successful because of the number of mothers Candace talked with and materials she distributed, plus the funds she raised a dollar at a time.
KeeNan Engstrom of LLL of Weber County in Utah, USA used balloons as a focal point of their local Group's Walk around the local dinosaur park. Participants could walk through the park at their leisure any time after checking in and receiving a balloon to attach to their stroller (push chair), baby carrier, or person. This passive publicity drew attention to the participants who could easily identify one another and/or share about "the balloon" with anyone who asked. The success of the use of balloons to draw attention to breastfeeding babies could be measured by counting the number of people who inquired about the balloons. As with any walk, counting the number of sponsored walkers and what they raised can produce a ratio that expresses success or not -- depending on the goal of the walk.
Barb Gabbert Bacon used balloons in Wichita, Kansas, USA one year and attached a breastfeeding fact tag to each balloon to reinforce the importance of breastfeeding. The fact tag provided education as well as another adornment to the balloons.
An integral part of the World Breastfeeding Week Celebration for Ginny Wilkinson, of Danville, Pennsylvania, USA is the covered dish dinner that their Group holds before their walk with a Series Meeting following the WBW Celebration. The camaraderie generated by the meal seems to set the stage for families to want to participate in the Walk and stay for a special couples' meeting.
World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations in the US use many formats. No event is more important than another to the overall success of the celebrations. Rather, it is the collective effort of small and large events with fundraising, awareness raising, or community development purposes that make the World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations a robust and diverse event.
It is not too early to plan what purpose your 2006 WBW Celebration event will have and how you can make your dreams become a reality to help mothers and babies breastfeed. To learn more about the USA's Celebration of World Breastfeeding Week visit www.lllusa.org/wbw.