By Walter Boomsma,
One of my ongoing goals as MSG Communications Director goes beyond keeping members informed to providing you with resources—both internal (Grange “stuff”) and external (resources from other organizations and individuals that may have value to Grangers.
Grange month is coming! For several years now, National Grange has not mailed information packets but has rather made material available on the National Grange website. This year, I have added that Grange month material to our Maine State Grange website to make it readily available. It really is time to start planning your Grange Month celebration!
Officers and directors are certainly encouraged to submit information and documents we can make accessible. Visit the “Program Books and Information” section of the site and check out what’s there! You’ll be amazed!
In terms of “external” information, I am always on the prowl for articles, information, websites, etc. that may hold interest and have value for our members and site visitors. Recent examples of this include a wish list from the VA with community service opportunities in Maine and a link to a free fifty-page book regarding personal finance (lecturer’s program? Family health and hearing material?).
This was an extremely busy month for our “In search of…” feature. Not only have there been several requests for Grange information ranging from cookbooks to history, we’ve also had a number of requests for information regarding using Grange Halls for personal and community events. One that is particularly rewarding involved some volunteers who wanted to sponsor a benefit for a young family whose unborn child has a severe medical issue. In short, we were able to facilitate an exciting connection to Fairview Grange #342 that is resulting in an informal partnership an opportunity for the folks at Fairview to support the family and the community. The Communications Department even got involved, helping with promotion.
Shared events like this are just plain awesome. Not only do they increase the likelihood of success, they also introduce new people to the Grange, increase the visibility of the Grange in the community, and demonstrate what the Grange is all about. Just make sure your hall looks good and your Bulletin Board is current—filled with lots of positive information about your Grange, your members, and your needs.
While we were on vacation this past summer, we attended a concert in a rather large church. Their foyer area was truly amazing—it communicated a sense of welcome and demonstrated opportunities and needs. They freely used small, topic-specific bulletin boards, clipboards with sign-up sheets and small tables with brochures and flyers. There was one corner with several comfortable chairs where one could sit and review material. For someone interested in communication, it was close to nirvana! Admittedly, they had a large area to work with, but the ideas can certainly be adapted.
Find someone in your Grange and offer him or her an opportunity to create at least one “communications area” and see what he or she can come up with! When it’s finished, take a photo and send it! If you’re not feeling particularly creative, you could start with a welcome mat at the front door!
Grange Month Clarification
If you find Grange Month information a bit confusing at first, the idea is to base the celebration on the National Grange Program called “I’m a doer.” The Grange Month material appears to follow a line of, “When the do-ers are gone…” Unfortunately, (in my opinion) that sounds like a prediction unless you read the details explaining that Grange Month celebrates “do-ers.” This could make a great link to the community citizen award many Granges present during Grange Month. Your headline for a press release might be “Local Grange Honors a Do-er…