17 Ideas on How and Where to Promote Toastmasters in Your Community
From an article in the June 2008 issue of the Toastmasters Magazine.
1. Newspapers. The easiest way to secure media coverage is through press releases to local newspapers. Newspapers are usually more accessible than radio and television stations, and they allow you to communicate more information, such as the club’s contact information.
2. Electronic Media. Public service announcements (PSAs) and videotaped commercials can be aired on radio and cable television stations. Local talk shows might be interested in featuring a Toastmasters officer discussing the importance of communication training in the workplace.
3. Local Government. Contact your city hall for information on how to get your message displayed on the city’s cable television programming. Also try to get your Toastmasters activities listed in the city’s community services calendar, published through the Parks and Recreation Department.
4. Chamber of Commerce. An ad in its newsletter or a presentation by a Toastmaster at one of its meetings will reach influential local business people. IF someone in your district is a chamber member, a group of Toastmasters may want to hold a chamber of commerce social hour.
5. Libraries. Submit extra copies of The Toastmaster magazine to the library’s periodicals department and attach a card with the club’s contact information. Also post fliers and ads on bulletin boards.
6. Corporate Publication. Editors for employee newsletters might be interested in camera-ready ads about your club as “fillers.” If the organization has an internal Toastmasters club, by all means use the newsletter as a vehicle for sharing your Toastmasters activities with other employees.
7. Employee Orientation. Make sure in-house Toastmasters clubs in corporations, hospitals, government agencies or other organizations have their clubs mentioned during new-employee orientation seminars.
8. “Welcome to the Community” packets. These are distributed to all new residents in a city and contain promotional materials from local merchants and organizations. Your ad or flier should be included in this package.
9. Universities and Community Colleges. Like cities, many Universities have internal cable TV and radio stations, as well as publications reaching students, staff and faculty. Arrange to have a Toastmaster give a presentation as a guest lecturer in a speech communication class. Or better yet, try to participate in communication-related campus events – like “Communications Week,” for example – and be prepared to host a booth and offer promotional fliers. If your district already has a University club, make sure it is publicized in campus media, as well as in new-student or freshmen orientations.
10. High Schools. Organize or judge speech contests for seniors, or give seminars on career planning. Even if students don’t join your club, this is an opportunity for media exposure and gives parents, staff and teachers a good impression of our organization.
11. Community Events. Participate in local fairs, parades, sports tournaments and holiday celebrations. Wear your Toastmasters pin, display your club banner and ribbons and offer handouts at a booth. Again, the community services or recreation departments in your city will have a list of these events.
12. Proclamations by Politicians (local, state or federal) honoring a specific event or anniversary. You can also ask them to proclaim an official Toastmasters Week (day or month) or Youth Leadership Week, etc.
13. Billboards. Just as television and radio stations are required to regularly air free public service announcements, billboards also must frequently exhibit messages by nonprofit organizations as a public service. Your only cost involved would be for printing the message, which can be done surprisingly inexpensively. Contact a public affairs representative in your area for more information.
14. Offer Speechcraft and Youth Leadership Programs. This is a great way of showing the public what Toastmasters is all about.
15. Create Club or District Business Cards indicating your meeting time and place, and distribute them to friends and colleagues along with a personal comment on how Toastmasters training has benefited you.
16. Use TI Bumper Stickers and Mugs. Wear TI shirts, and display your Toastmaster trophies in a prominent place in your home and office.
17. Wear Your Toastmasters Pin! It’s a good conversation starter.
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