BC Guide - Community Chapters: Supplies

A few well-chosen supplies can streamline Community Chapter work and give meetings a professional feel. Breastfeeding Counselors need good resources so that they can help mothers more easily.

Meeting Registration Supplies

Mothers attending Chapter events may appreciate having a “registration” table where they are greeted as they arrive. Breastfeeding Counselors can stock the table with supplies that present a professional and welcoming feel, such as name tags, a sign-in sheet, membership information, and flyers about upcoming Chapter events. A Chapter can also use some basic stationery supplies (e.g., paper, pens, tape, post-it-notes, paper clips) to facilitate registration, information-gathering, and note-taking for Breastfeeding Counselors and attendees. Printed Breastfeeding USA business cards are handy for providing contact information and writing notes.

Name Tags

Providing name tags ensures that BCs can address the attendees by name and facilitates informal mother-to-mother support among the attendees. Mothers can make their own tags at the registration table, or a Breastfeeding Counselor or volunteer could make tags for mothers as they greet them. Chapters with many regular attendees can pre-print name tags for regular attendees (or perhaps only for Breastfeeding USA members to acknowledge the support that members provide the organization).

Sheet

Having a sign-in sheet at the event ensures that Breastfeeding Counselors have a record of attendance for reporting activity statistics. A simple sheet of paper with columns for name, email address, and phone can provide basic attendance counts may suffice. Community Chapters with large regular member attendance may want to create a spreadsheet with members’ contact information, allowing members to check off of their names as they arrive. In either format, adding a column that participants can check if they are attending a meeting for the first time can help with data collection for the CCAR.

Membership/Chapter Information

Having information about Breastfeeding USA membership or having a laptop or tablet available displaying the Join/Donate page at the meeting encourages mothers to support the organization at the time they are most likely to appreciate support that they received. Anything that the attendees can take with them (such as information about Breastfeeding USA, upcoming Community Chapter meetings, local events, and breastfeeding in general) will serve as a reminder of the organization and may encourage the mothers to call for support or attend another event in the future.

Information Resources and Library Supplies

Breastfeeding Counselors may want to have their core counseling resources available to address specific questions at an event, along with other relevant books, videos, and other audio/visual materials for attendees. It may be helpful to have handouts to distribute to mothers who need them, within copyright guidelines and restrictions.

Books, videos, pamphlets, or other visual aids obtained as Chapter resources can become the foundation for a lending library. Community Chapters may choose to share resources as a lending library, allowing mothers to check out materials and return them at a later time. Materials shared with attendees should be clearly marked as the property of the Community Chapter, perhaps with labels printed with the Chapter contact information and affixed to the item. A book may be marked on the page edges with the the Chapter name. Most importantly, the Chapter must keep good records with complete borrower contact information to allow efficient tracking and follow-up if the mother does not return the material in the specified time-frame. Tracking can be done with a simple sign-out sheet, a more sophisticated card system, or in a computer-based file.

Obtaining Supplies

While Breastfeeding USA does not expect Breastfeeding Counselors to finance the needs of their Community Chapters, the organization is grateful if BCs choose to donate resources for Chapter use. Breastfeeding Counselors may also seek local donations of supplies and in-kind services to benefit their Chapter. Breastfeeding Counselors can also purchase needed supplies using funds available as Community Chapter Grants (see that section within Community Chapters: Financial Management). Breastfeeding USA expects BCs to complete Expense Reimbursement forms for all Community Chapter supplies, whether donated or purchased, because this provides more accurate financial reporting and assists in budgeting. Any supplies purchased with Breastfeeding USA funds become the property of the organization, should be used for Breastfeeding USA only, and should be returned to the organization or donated in accordance with guidelines if the Community Chapter is closed.

Organizing and Storing Supplies

Having all the supplies for Chapter events in one place eases meeting preparation and setup time. If the Chapter meetings are held in the home of a Breastfeeding Counselor, the supplies may be kept in a special drawer or place in the home. For Chapters that meet in public locations, Breastfeeding Counselors can ask the meeting space provider whether supplies may be left at the event location. If not, it may be easiest to keep materials in a container that’s easy to grab and carry--perhaps in a Breastfeeding USA tote bag, or a rolling cart. And of course, Breastfeeding Counselors can seek out a local volunteer to help manage supplies for the Chapter.