The women, who came before us, didn’t do it alone. They organized, gathered like-minded people, assigned roles, and made plans.
Members want to contribute and be included.
- Connect with them and explore their interests.
- Form a committee or if you are in a smaller League, ask a neighboring League to join in planning, or partner with a similar organization in your area.
- Spend some time brainstorming. What is your vision? What are others interested in? What can you do given the time and resources available? Choose a smaller event rather than taking on more than can be accomplished.
- It is never too early to consider who else in the community would be a partner in your event. Collaborating with partners will make the event easier to carry out and help establish long term relations.
Meet with local organizations, people, and events with similar missions that may have an interest in your event. Visit their website and social media sites to get a good idea of mutual interests.
Expect to do a presentation to their representatives. Talk about similar interests and how collaboration will benefit them, e.g. visibility, membership.
Think of partners as committee members who have valuable input to include in your planning and not just a vehicle to advertise your event. Keep them involved every step of the way. Make sure all names are promoted along with the event.
Think local. How did the suffrage movement play out in your area? Was there a person who played a role in the movement or did an event take place nearby. Talk to your local historian. Do research online or at your library.
Once the event is decided, clearly define the event and present it to members and partners. Explain its purpose and what resources are needed. Get buy in from the members and partners. Recruit additional committee members.
Consider an image and tagline that will allow for a branding and make it easily recognizable. Always include the LWV’s logo and your local League’s name. The LWVNYS has a logo specifically for the anniversary. Include it in your media materials.
- The History and Education Committees have developed additional resources for Sufftage and Women's Resources.
Publicity is important. It brings attention to your event and awareness of the League’s work. There are many ways to get publicity: from an interview on a TV station to a flyer in a store window.
Check with local TV and radio station to see if they have programs that interview community people about events. Early in the planning stages, contact local radio and TV stations and inquire about being on their interview shows.
While being interviewed keep these tips in mind:
- Keep on message.
- Repeat the message.
- The short message will be what people remember and take away from the interview.
- For example, The LWV is celebrating its long history of protecting voter rights, or The LWV believes that it is important to continue fighting for voter’s rights.
Allow enough time for print media.
- If you want a reporter, send an email inviting them to attend. Include the relevance of the event and the local connection. Always provide a person and contact information. Reporters work on a tight deadline and they cannot wait for a call back.
- Community calendars are often free and a relatively easy way to advertise the event. Include links to website and social media.
- Write a press release and send it to all print, radio, digital media and include organizations, government representatives, and local governments, e.g. City Hall. Make sure to include whether the event is free or there’s a fee. Be clear that the public is invited.
Social media may be one of the best ways to bring attention to the event.
If you haven’t already, make a Facebook page for your League. Ask members and others to “like” the page. Make a couple of members Facebook page administrators. They can post and change the look of your page.
Plan on making frequent posts. Always have an image or a link on a post. Images get attention. A link will bring people to your website to learn more. Encourage members to like and share posts to get broader coverage.
Post photographs during the planning phase and the event. For example, a photograph of invitations being sent out with a message alerting members to expect to see it in their mailbox.
- Facebook allows you to make Events as part of your League’s page. Under Events, list details, images, maps, and a url for linking to external sites like, Eventbrite, where people can RSVP and pay for tickets.
- On the Facebook Event Page, click “interest” or “going” and the event will populate calendars on phones and computers. This is a big advantage for busy people.
- Learn to take a video on your smart phone to post on Facebook or make a Facebook live post. Video is becoming a popular way to post on Facebook.
Sample Facebook posts:
- The League of Women Voters of [local LWV name] will celebrate 100 years of making democracy work. Check out our event calendar. www.lwv [your name].org/eventcalendar. Add image.
Twitter is increasingly popular. It’s like a newsfeed where posts are 280 characters or less. The posts are called tweets and include images and links to websites. Twitter uses hashtags #. Hashtags help your message be part of larger conversations and be more visible. Use hashtags that are popular for your event, e.g. #vote.
Sample tweets and links:
- For 100 years @LWV has worked to educate & engage voters.
- Check us out! lwv.org/
- LWVNY fights to make our election laws more democratic @LWV#fightingfordemocracy
- 50 LWV in NYS will celebrate #100yearsstrong,
- Find events near you: lwvnys.org/anniversarycalender
This is an example of an activity and how the local LWV organized and carried out the event.
EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE
- A parade in your town is a visible way to bring awareness to the LWV’s anniversary. Parades celebrate events or holidays, such as Independence Day. Members marching as suffragists is fun and gets positive attention.
- The LWV of Saratoga County walked in the Memorial Day parade dressed as suffragists in honor of women veterans and to support the Guardian House. The Guardian House is a shelter that was being built for homeless female veterans.
Build, Collaborate, Partner
- The LWV of Saratoga County learned that the parade’s theme would be in support of the Guardian House for homeless women veterans, making for a good fit.
- The LWV of Saratoga County worked with the veterans to make the Guardian House come to fruition. The result was a request to join the parade.
Decide on the Event
- The image of suffragists is often in a parade, so marching in the Memorial Day parade for the Guardian House worked well.
- Members wore white tops with dark or white skirts and a hat. Sashes in purple or gold marked the colors of the suffrage movement in America.
- They carried banners and signs to complete the look.
Timeline for Parade: (sample)
- One year
If possible, as soon as the prior year’s parade is over, contact the organizer about walking in the next year’s parade. If you cannot find the name of the person responsible, ask one the participants to put you in touch with the right people.
- 6 months
- Or, at least 6 months ahead of the parade’s date. Decide on your message and how to carry out publicity.
- Send out save the date information. Start to generate excitement for the parade.
- Make sure assignments are distributed, e.g. how will the signs and banner be produced, what will be printed on them.
- 3 months
- At about 3 months, start to gather members who will participate.
- Finalize the clothing, signage and press.
- 1 month
- At one month prior to parade, have a list of members walking in the parade.
- Make sure members know what to do, such as where to meet, what to wear and signs to carry.
- Make sure that the marchers include diverse representation of your members such as men, different age groups and people of color.
- At the point press releases go out, be sure your newsletter has information as well as social media.
- The LWV of Saratoga County sent our press releases to the papers and radio. Members were alerted through mail chimp emails, the newsletter and social media.
- Their Facebook and Twitter started posting a Save the Date as soon as plans were finalized.
- Tips: Decide on an image to include in your posts. Pick a hashtag that fits your event. Make an event on Facebook’s event page. It’ll give you a rough idea how many people are interested.
The Event and Afterwards
- A location to meet on the parade route was established. It was a hot day, so a cooler of cold water was provided. Signs distributed.
- The LWV of Saratoga County took photographs during the event and posted them on social media alerting followers to look for them during the parade.
- Afterward, an article was written for the newsletter, thank you emails to the members who marched and supported the activity and a report with recommendation was submitted to the Board of Directors.
- Tips: Waiting to march and walking in the parade can be difficult. Look out for anyone needing assistance. It’s ok to step out and enjoy the parade on the sidelines.