"Growing" Your World Breastfeeding Week Celebration
compiled by Linda Parry
Matthews NC USA
From LEAVEN, Vol 43 No. 4, October-November-December 2007, p. 93
Nancy White, LLL of Metro Jackson, Mississippi, USA grows flowers in her Mississippi yard, but she's also learned about growing World Breastfeeding Week Celebration (WBWC) events.
It can be discouraging when people don't show up, but if you are consistent, you can "grow" the event. I remember in 2001 when only 17 people showed up at the event. But last year there were 83. Getting sponsors also gets easier as we keep a list of past sponsors and many are repeat donors. Making "warm" calls is much easier than cold calling.
Judith Gilbert, LLL of Glassboro, New Jersey, USA remembers her 2001 event, too. They were happy to raise $578 (US). Each year the event has grown and this year they surpassed the $3,000 (US) mark. Judy focuses on publicity, sending a postcard to all Leaders, and a thank-you postcard afterwards. Email reminders on Area lists keep the event in the forefront. All food and silent auction items are donated. They use the same master list and letter each year and donors respond. They ask local businesses, such as restaurants and children's activity places, as well as the national WBWC sponsors. This year they charged $2 (US) for their great goody bags and brought in additional income. Previous years' events have been held at a Leader's back yard, but this year they moved to a larger park with a playground right by a pavilion where everything was set up.
Judith reports that some WBWC challenges can be constant, like getting people to help, to attend, and to solicit or donate money. And there will always be last-minute things that need to get done:
Every year, on the day of the event, we make sure that people are enjoying themselves and encourage people to make a difference by donating. Much has gotten easier with email to solicit donation and send notices. Tapping into the silent auction donors from the Area Conference and the Holistic Moms Conference was a big help.
Susan Vicknair Theall, LLL of Jefferson, Louisiana, USA and her co-Leaders grow their event each year.
It is much easier to continue to add to an annual event than to have a different type of event each year. The donors know you and expect to participate each year. We can use the same planning lists, the same floor plans, and the same promotional materials each year with minimal updating. We do add new things each year to improve our events. After each event, we try to discuss what worked and what didn't work. We like to start planning early. If the letters are in the mail in April and May, then there is less rush as we get closer to August.
A WBWC is like a flower garden. You can plant perennials that come up year after year, or annuals that are new and fresh each year. What idea will you "grow" in 2008?
Paying It Forward
Have you watched the movie "Pay It Forward"? If not, watch it this weekend, and think of La Leche League. Think of how many women find us because their mothers found LLL 30 years ago. We are even seeing third generation LLL mothers now.
Those wonderful women in 1956 paid it forward. They did not have a lot of time or money, but they saw a way to help mothers breastfeed. Those mothers in turn helped other mothers.
Because of their efforts, breastfeeding rates have blossomed, and noticing a nursing mother in public is now more common. In order for breastfeeding to be truly a way of life, though, the first step is for breastfeeding to become "the norm."
Are we doing all we can to help normalize breastfeeding? We have a perfect opportunity each year to increase breastfeeding awareness:
World Breastfeeding Week is dedicated to raising awareness of breastfeeding. Have you planned or participated in an event -- are you making the most of it?
As Leaders, we do our part to help the mothers, but could we do more to reach moms who don't know that La Leche League is an incredible resource? Consider thinking about how you might be able to "pay it forward." You may come up with some interesting ideas!
WBW Sponsors 2007
Platinum Level ($3000+)
Diamond Level ($1500+)
Gold Level ($750+)
Emerald Level ($500+)
Silver Level ($200+)
Bronze Level ($100+ product)