by Sandi Digras, Diocesan CWL Communications Chair
HAPPY SUMMER TIME ON VANCOUVER ISLAND!
Our new dynamic President, Christa Grillmair, invited all Diocesan Executives and Presidents to a summer planning session at All Saints Parish in Ladysmith on Monday, July 14, 2018.
Pat Darling, our new Spiritual chair, not only hosted but also lead us in an inspiring and bonding prayer service that taught us Namastemeans I greet the holy one in you. In the Christian tradition its meaning changed to I greet the gifts of the Holy Spirit in you.
Following this soul-enriching beginning, we got down to the serious questions of the day, which included responses on how we could better communicate and share our gifts and talents. A complete summary of the day will be sent to you all later.
I reflected on the fact we need to better share what we are doing in our Parishes and Councils to support National, Provincial, and Diocesan objectives.
We can begin by using our website cwldov.orgmore effectively. If you have an event that includes the opportunity for other Councils to attend, please send these to Connie Dunwoody: firstname.lastname@example.org,or to me: email@example.com.We will be developing a calendar format which will include the event, parish, date and time(s). We are also working on more effectively using the ‘Subscribe’ button at the bottom of the Homepage. When activated (timing depends on our website provider, Squarespace), it will allow you to receive notifications of new blog posts and other updates directly to your electronic devices simply by subscribing. More on this exciting addition soon: please note it is not yet available to us. We will let you know when to subscribe.
From Connie Dunwoody:
Let’s encourage each Council's communications people to copy me if they send something to their parish admin for their bulletin. Then we can decide what we want included on the CWL Diocesan site. Some things will have a wider appeal, such as Bazaars, or some movie events, for example. Some things pertain specifically to the parish, like local Council meetings, which we don’t need to include on our Diocesan Events calendar.
I don't think we should have a separate page for all the Christmas Bazaars. If there is more than one event, it’ll show that way on the calendar, I think, and we will show them individually on the home page. Let’s keep the Events as Events and resist the urge to create more pages, for simplicity’s sake.
One question I was asked was How do we attract our local media to attend our events or write articles about what we are doing? The simple answer is to always read your local papers and the focus they story angle they use. What stories attract you? What focus is that story reflecting? A local group donating money to a cause doesn’t always have a wider appeal, which newspapers are looking for.
However, a local group that sponsors a homeless shelter, and will be assisting in building that shelter with money and time they are donating, is a better fit and much more interesting. Always remember who the audience is and write for that audience: this is true for Facebook pages, blogs and articles you write, and for radio or television interviews.
Here is an example:
Ascension Parish Refugee Committee was frustrated by the long wait for their sponsored family to arrive. After they met with their local MP, Gord Johns, briefing him in advance on what had been done to date, Ascension got responses very quickly. Within a month and a half the new family arrived. As Chair of the Committee, I invited Mr. Johns to meet the family and made sure the local media was aware of this event. I knew one of the writers, who is a parishioner, and sent him all the facts. The result was a great coverage in the media.
The lesson: Get to know the local media. Invite them for a coffee, then brief them on the CWL and what you are doing that impacts your local community. Keep your information current, interesting, and action oriented. If it is a big story that impacts Councils in other communities, mention that, and give some ideas as to how your community can participate.
Don’t expect every event to be covered. Bazaars and Garage sales are so numerous they tend not to be covered, but if you are donating the proceeds to a local charity contact their Communication person and ask if they will arrange for media coverage when you donate the check. Networking with other PR people will help move your stories forward.
Following our planning meeting some of you asked about media training. If you wish me to speak to your group about media ideas and suggestions—and what fun it is to be a Communication Chair—let me know! I will be glad to attend.
We have been inspired and challenged by our summer planning meeting; now we must inspire those we have in our Councils to join our Communication team. We need to fill all those positions which are empty.
PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS for the rest of the summer.