Each month, one of our DFOs (Dementia Friends Officers) answer one of your Dementia Friends Champions questions. Chella Borde, DFO for Wales, answers this month’s question:
How do I get more people to come to my public Dementia Friends Information Session?
We’ve all heard people say ‘It’s all in the planning’ and this applies here. Give yourself plenty of time to plan and promote your Information Session and announce the date well in advance. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth! The more people you tell about the Session and your role of Dementia Friends Champion, the more people will hear about it. There are lots of resources and ideas you can use to successfully promote your Session and we will look at some of them here:
Dementia Friends website
Adding your Session to your account in advance and selecting ‘yes’ to ‘visible on site’ when you’re creating the Session will mean anyone looking for an open Information Session will be able to see your Session is scheduled to happen. People may not check regularly though, so give people as much notice as possible
Once you’ve created your Information Session on the website, a URL link will be created. You can send this to people in your networks to let them know about the Session, asking them to send it on to potentially interested groups.
The postermaker is a great tool for creating a branded poster to advertise your Session. This can be found on your dashboard under Resources and then Planning and Promoting. It’s a really easy to use template and all you need to do is enter the details and click finished! You’re free to use the poster wherever you’d like to let people know about your Session. Posters could be placed in the venue of the info session, the notice boards of local supermarkets, churches, schools, community centres, libraries and cafes.
Social Media, such as Facebook and Twitter are great ways to share information quickly. You could create a post including the URL link and ask your friends or followers to share the post. You might want to use a picture of your poster from the Postermaker to catch people’s eye and include actions people have made at your previous Sessions.
If appropriate, you could add an email signature advertising your Information Session, again, including the URL.
There may be local media channels including free papers, online news website, regional radio and community newsletters for your local area that would be perfect routes to advertise your Information Sessions. There are templates on your dashboard that you can use and send to local media before and after your Information Session.
Find out what’s happening in your area
Lots of communities have groups that meet regularly or hold events. You could find out what’s planned in your area and offer to hold Dementia Friends Information Sessions as part of their plans. Does your area have a ‘What’s On’ website or noticeboard? You could get your Session listed there. If there is a Dementia Friendly Community in your area, they could support with the promotion of your Session. Think about your potential audiences and the communication channels open to them, such as parish newsletters, free magazines or newspapers.
Opening a private Session up to the public
If these ideas don’t work for you, you could open planned or requested Information Sessions to the public. This would ensure your Session went ahead and it wasn’t time wasted, but that anyone interested could come along, reaching people who may not otherwise get the chance.
Extra things to remember
Don’t forget, if you’re delivering a public Information Session, to check the Venue Selection checklist to make sure your venue is safe for everyone.
Remember to make it easy for people to find the correct venue or room for your Session. If you’re using a room in a large building, use the Information Session sign available on your dashboard so that people can be led to the right place.
Thank you for your support in helping Dementia Friends to reach as many people as possible! I hope this help, and as ever if you would like to talk about this further do please get in contact with your DFO.