Breastfeeding Counselors who are opening Community Chapters in areas with no previous association with mother-to-mother support will have to tap into their creative skills to get the word out about Breastfeeding USA and the mission of the organization. Using some basic techniques of grassroots marketing, BCs can extend the reach of the organization in their communities and on a national level.
Grassroots publicity is simply marketing Breastfeeding USA and Community Chapters on a local and personal level, with Breastfeeding Counselors utilizing their personal contacts and networks to spread the word about the organization and Chapter. An effective grassroots publicity campaign can inform more mothers about Breastfeeding USA services so they can get the help they need. Cost-effective ways to publicize Community Chapter events and services include:
- Press release to local newspapers
- Public access TV ad
- Ads in community newspapers (there is a "Parent" newspaper in most major cities)
- Flyers at libraries, clinics, coffee houses, and baby stores
- Mall/grocery store event (get a table at the holiday fair)
- Local parenting expos
Breastfeeding Counselors may choose to take part in local breastfeeding coalitions, local breastfeeding and parenting listservs or message boards, and hospital breastfeeding committees; and volunteer to do outreach through community-based organizations that provide help and support to new families. This participation builds collaborative relationships which help further the Breastfeeding USA mission to promote breastfeeding as the cultural norm.
In addition to the groups previously mentioned, a Breastfeeding Counselor can approach local family-, mother-, or child-focused medical practices or health care providers, organizations like Nurse Family Partnership, faith-based mother support groups, local Moms of Multiples or Motherhood Later chapters, LGBT community centers, adolescent health groups (like Teen Rap), women’s shelters, and Department of Health, Women, Infant and Children (WIC) clinics. These are effective places to leave flyers and offer to provide breastfeeding support for that location or organization. Many of these locations actively seek out free support options for expectant and breastfeeding moms and some will gladly welcome Breastfeeding Counselor help and expertise as a resource or for referrals. To establish the relationship, a BC may send a letter of introduction or go in person to introduce herself, Breastfeeding USA, and local Community Chapter services.
Breastfeeding USA has a strong social network, and thanks to the continuing support of Breastfeeding Counselors and members, that social network continues to grow each week. One way a BC can extend the reach of a Community Chapter is to utilize her social network (friends and family, colleagues, and social media connections) to spread the word about meetings, breastfeeding classes, and the organization. This is a truly cost-effective way to get the word out about the national organization and the local Chapter. More information about ways to maximize social networks is included in the Social Media section of this BC Guide.
Partnering with Local Businesses
Breastfeeding Counselors usually have a good sense about where breastfeeding and pregnant mothers hang out in their communities. By approaching these locations for meeting space, asking to leave flyers, or offering to help make their spaces more breastfeeding friendly, Breastfeeding Counselors can connect with women who may be interested in Breastfeeding USA. By putting Breastfeeding USA information in many places where breastfeeding mothers congregate, BCs can build a following, and members of the community will begin to spread the word about Breastfeeding USA as well.
- Participate in hospital outreach, including offering to host a meeting on its mother/baby floor
- Contact OB and pediatric clinics or private practices and ask to put Breastfeeding USA flyers in their waiting rooms
- Contact local teen mothers’ shelters and offer to lead a separate support group meeting for them
- Contact the local civic organization to solicit local businesses and community members to support Breastfeeding USA
- Use word of mouth; mention Breastfeeding USA everywhere
- Contact the local Macaronikid.com blogger to write about your Community Chapter for its newsletter
- List the Community Chapter in city and state Department of Health resource guide for breastfeeding women
- Join local hospital and/or city breastfeeding committee(s) for networking opportunities
- Host an exhibit table at local health fairs or educational conferences
- Print Community Chapter business cards and distribute freely
- Share successes and progress with your personal circle of friends, family, followers and acquaintances--especially those breastfeeding