The 15th Annual Family Promise National Conference, in D.C., empowered, encouraged and engaged. Since our Affiliate opened in 2014, I have attended 3 conferences and I always come away with renewed excitement.
This year’s theme, United We Serve, spoke directly to what we do every day, whether you’re in a corner office with windows and a large staff or you’re literally in a corner wishing you had more staff, you’re United with Family Promise serving children and their parents! The night I returned, my kiddos (10yrs and 5yrs) were checking out the new Affiliate map given to each attendee. My oldest daughter said, “Wow, mom, that’s a lot of dots!” The great news is all those dots are connected! Family Promise Week celebrates and highlights the real and true impact “those dots” have on both a national and local level. Family Promise should not be the best-kept secret in your area!
Oftentimes, I like to think every person connected with our Network knows exactly what Family Promise is, what the mission is and the growth achieved. Turns out, oftentimes, I’m wrong! Beyond just being wrong, the truth is new and exciting things are happening not only with local Affiliates but on a national level too. So, this year, we’re shouting it loud and proud, making sure we’re targeting not only new audience members but also connecting with our existing audience.
National shared great, updated infographics, in its Affiliate section. We paired the new graphics and facts with some local statistics and created a double-sided mailing that was a little larger than a post card. Expanding on that, we created a series of emails to send out each day of Family Promise Week. In those emails, we shared nuggets of the local impact and growth we have had, in addition to the national impact. And, of course, there’s the social media blitz. In the next coming weeks, following FP Week, we will drop our printed, mailed annual appeal. For all of those pieces, our target audience is, well, EVERYONE!
The underlying message in all of our planned communication is…talk about Family Promise! Tell family, friends, neighbors, heck, tell the mail carrier! Tell them you bring true hope and change lives, that you do it alongside thousands of volunteers in their community and across the nation, all in an effort to end homelessness…one family at a time. Share with your audience the story, or stories, which help carry you through the tough days, because we all have them. Show your audience the drawings, pictures and cards received over time, at your Affiliate. My office walls are decorated with ‘thank you’ pictures from graduate kiddos. One of my favorite elements of those pictures is my name is spelled all kinds of ways on them! Our Day Center hallway is peppered with ‘thank you’ letters, from graduate families, and those are always great sources for quotes to share.
Furthermore, share the moments like the one I had just a little bit ago — when your busy work, such as writing this blog, is interrupted by a family who dropped by because they heard we could help and that we do amazing things. Share the story of relief they felt when you told them that, tonight, they wouldn’t have to return to the abandoned, burned out apartment building they had been sleeping in because no other shelter would take them as a unit. Tonight, because Karen Olson shared a sandwich and Millie shared her story, a pregnant mom, a dad and their 8-year old son will be safe, cared for and fed in a way they never dreamed possible.