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Promoting LLL and Breastfeeding: One Group's WBW Experience

KeeNan Engstrom
Weber County UT USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 3, June-July 2005, p. 68.

Breastfeeding was almost a lost art when La Leche League was founded to help breastfeeding mothers. One of the purposes of the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) celebration is to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding to mothers and babies. LLL of Weber/Davis, Utah aimed to accomplish this by planning an intimate, fun activity at a dinosaur park. We advertised mainly to mothers who attended meetings over the past few years. We were pleased to hear back from new mothers who recently started coming to meetings as well as those we hadn't seen in quite some time! More than 20 breastfeeding (or former breastfeeding) mothers attended our event with their families.

To promote LLL and breastfeeding in our community, we distributed packets of information to health care providers. In our cover letter, we encouraged them to contribute monetarily to our cause. Even if they didn't, it was beneficial that we made contact with them since many requested LLL information to give to clients. We also sent press releases to local media outlets. Our event was mentioned in the Ogden Standard Examiner at least three times as well as on the local news.

We wanted to encourage Walkers to be sponsored, so we sent packets of sample letters and scripts for soliciting sponsorship to those who were interested. As an incentive, we offered to waive park admission for one adult and one child for each $25 in sponsorship turned in on the day of the event. Of the more than 20 registered Walkers, 14 had at least $25 in sponsorship funds. The average amount raised by each of those 14 Walkers was more than $80 each. Our highest sponsored Walker was Alicia Mayne (now a Leader) who received a $150 donation from her obstetrician's office for a total of $225 in sponsorship money!

When planning our event, we made sure to divide up the responsibilities. We had one person who focused on getting donations to help minimize expenses. Others put together and delivered packets, sent out press releases, coordinated the potluck lunch, oversaw the registration table at our event, and encouraged sponsorship and attendance among Group mothers. We also solicited donations for prizes. We received about 10 to 15 prizes including a one-night stay at Anniversary Inn, a Maya Wrap sling, Pampered Chef products, a Snuggle Nest co-sleeper, and a gift subscription to Mothering Magazine. The original plan was to give our top three sponsored Walkers first choice at the prizes and then do a drawing for the other prizes among the remaining registered WWalkers. Since our top three sponsored Walkers were all Leaders, we skipped that part (after consultation among the three Leaders, of course) and just did a drawing for all of the prizes.

Overall, we are pleased with how our WBW event turned out. We did our best to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and the LLL mission. And we had fun working together and being together, too!

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