I would like to share some information here for you to consider, but I hope we can continue this conversation on the FL/CI Leaders Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/248828131853744/
As you know, many sources of information about breastfeeding are available to mothers today, and it can be a challenge to get moms to understand why they should come to LLL meetings in the first place. Then, in order to build a core group, we need them to return! This is important because a core group of mothers is the most logical place to locate potential Applicants. If we think like a business, we would call this part of our job marketing and customer relations.
What does your Group do to promote meetings and then to help Group attendees feel that special LLL feeling so they keep coming back? When I was a young mother, we had monthly Evaluation Meetings for Group attendees. Being invited to those meetings made me feel special and encouraged me to be more involved in LLL. Today, mothers are so busy that planning and attending extra monthly meetings may not be practical. Instead, you might consider holding an occasional special meeting—a daytime picnic or evening discussion on a related topic—that would help mothers get to know the Leaders better and vice versa. I look forward to hearing what you think.
Once you have built a core group of mothers, we Leaders need to be a little bit of a saleswoman, too. We know that it is necessary to share membership information in order to sell memberships. The same is true of the need for us to share information about leadership. Sharing the joys of being a Leader, and what mothers should do if they want to find out more about leadership, is an important part of locating interested mothers. We can share information individually with a mother, or, if it feels right, we can speak to all the Group attendees present (perhaps after the official part of the meeting has ended) or hold a special meeting to which several mothers who may meet the prerequisites are invited to learn more about LLL leadership. Also, a mother can find information about becoming a Leader on the LLLI Web site.
Leaders can also download and print relevant documents from the LLLI Web site or from the La Leche League Alliance for Breastfeeding Education Web site to help in your discussion of what a Leader does and how the application process works.
When a mother indicates interest in leadership, the pre-application dialogue begins. I’ll talk in more detail about dialoguing in my next post. Briefly, I will share that the pre-application dialogue is when you, the Leader, dialogue with the interested mother about LLL philosophy and leadership responsibilities. There is no set amount of time you are required to dialogue. You will continue until you feel confident enough to write her a recommendation and the interested mother feels ready to proceed with her application.
Another sales related thought in closing: Are we promoting The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding at meetings and in the Group’s Facebook groups and pages? Whether we sell The Womanly Art in our Groups, share links to online retailers, or direct mothers to the local bookstore, sales of The Womanly Art benefit LLL and, more importantly, benefit mothers. Mothers are really missing out if they haven’t read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and a Leader Applicant must own, and have read, the latest edition in order to apply for leadership.
Til next time,
Supporting Leader Mentor