One of the best ways to promote our programs and encourage new membership is to continuously promote our units and activities to the public. By doing so, we can create several positive outcomes if we show our units, activities, and programs off “at their best.”
Those benefits include:
- Increased awareness, participation, and community support for our programs (such as “Scouting for Food,” etc.)
- Increased opportunities for Fundraising (Friends of Scouting or “FOS,” Eagle service projects, etc.)
- Increased possibilities to recruit new members and volunteers
On a unit level, here are some ideas and ways that you and your leadership can easily promote your programs and units within the community:
- Know your local Patch.com representative. Look on Facebook for your town’s Patch Page (there should be an email address to reach out to). If not, sending a message may get better results.
- Know how to reach your local news outlet. Community Newspaper Company, owned by Gatehouse Media, has weekly publications and the “Wicked Local” websites available for free in many communities within the Council footprint. These publications & sites cover the local/community news. Scroll to the bottom and select CONTACT US to locate the reporter/editor for your community and send any upcoming events or ideas about your unit to them.
- Does your unit have an organization Facebook page? Starting one is easy. Use it to share National and Mayflower Council posts and promote your upcoming community events. Don’t have one? Stay tuned for information on how to create and maintain one!
- Join and share your local unit event posts on your community’s local Facebook page! Also, make sure you monitor and follow up on any comments added to your shared post. Note: There will ALWAYS be someone who may try to speak negatively about your event/post, etc. As the OP (original poster), you may be able to hide their comments. Regardless, take the high road and kill them with KINDNESS when responding. Possibly send a message to the admin for the page and let them know what is going on if a note is particularly nasty.
- Local community access channels exist in almost every community, too. Some shine a spotlight on community organizations and events. Contact your local community access studio for more information. BTW: Some of these studios can also be helpful with the Movie Making Merit Badge for your Scouts.
- If you partner with another community organization throughout the year, make sure to share your “good news” or upcoming events with them through social media or directly through their leadership; this might also be a good time to mention the usefulness of Twitter and Instagram.
- Be sure to send your good news to your local town officials (mayor, town council/select board, etc.)
Of course, all of the above ideas take a certain level of commitment from your unit committee or leadership to make it work. So, consider asking for a volunteer or parent to help – it’s important. After all, spreading our good news will show your unit’s commitment to your community.