Civitan Awareness Month
COVID-19 can’t stop Civitans from spreading the word about the incredible work of this organization! Use the ideas and resources below to take advantage of your platform, from home, in the midst of a pandemic. Your community needs to know that you are using your Civitan hands to change lives, change your community, and change your world for the better. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn!

Civitan International Policy 1311
The month of April shall be designated Civitan Awareness Month. This special emphasis month is to observe our anniversary and its history while stimulating knowledge of Civitan and membership growth. A new worldwide project that will recognize and honor special needs teachers and professional will be incorporated. Clubs are encouraged to participate in activities to promote Civitan’s image in the community, such as a special anniversary program, signing of a proclamation by a city official, and/or a designed fund raising/service project.

TEN WAYS TO SPREAD CIVITAN AWARENESS
(even during a pandemic!)

ONE: EACH MEMBER CHANGES THEIR FACEBOOK COVER PHOTO AND USES PROFILE PICTURE FRAME

Flood Facebook with “I Am Civitan” during the month of April! Encourage each member of your club to download and our Civitan Awareness Month Facebook Cover photo below.

I AM CIVITAN Facebook Cover Photo

To find and use the Facebook Profile Picture frame:

  • On a phone or tablet: Go to your profile on Facebook and app tap “Edit” on your profile picture. Then tap “Add Frame”. Search for “Civitan Awareness” in the search box, and choose our frame. Tap “Save”. 
  • On the computer: Go to your profile on Facebook, and on your profile picture, tap the camera icon to update profile picture. Then tap “Add Frame” at the top of the pop up box. Search for “Civitan Awareness” in the search box, and choose our frame. Tap “Use as Profile Picture”. 

THREE: COUNT AND CATEGORIZE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

It may not be something you’re used to, but use this month to BRAG on yourself! The community won’t know about the amazing work you are accomplishing if you don’t tell them. Has anyone in your club sat down and really thought about the sum of your accomplishments? If not, do it, and USE IT! How many wheelchair ramps have you built? How many inclusive holiday parties have you thrown? How many items have you collected for that special charity? How many hours of volunteer work have you contributed? How many dollars have you donated to that cause? Count it up, and GET LOUD about it!

This spreadsheet can help you do this, and keep track for the future.

Set aside one day a week to post on your club’s social media pages to share your accomplishments. Wednesdays would fit into the Social Media plan outlined above in Item 2. Make sure to tag any agencies or local organizations, city or municipal accounts that are relevant. Maybe they will share your post and help increase it’s reach and spread more awareness!

FOUR: RENEW & SHARE YOUR PASSION FOR OUR RESEARCH

Civitan International’s flagship project, the Civitan International Research Center, is our crown jewel. Researchers are making incredible strides across a spectrum of topics every day. Do you know the latest breakthroughs that have resulted from YOUR support?

CIRC Annual Video

CIRC A-Z

CIRC Toolkit

Recently, PIP Randy Eckhoff, and CIRC Director Dr. Craig Powell, sat down with this year’s class of Governors-Elect to discuss both our starting point and history with the CIRC, and where we are now. To view that video and catch up with them both, watch the video recording below. 
PIP Randy Eckhoff & Dr. Craig Powell Video

FIVE: JOIN YOUR LOCAL CHAMBER

Did you think joining the local Chamber of Commerce was only for businesses or companies? Think again! Joining the chamber is a great way to get the name of Civitan in front of leaders of your community. You may have a chance to speak on what your club does, sponsor an information table, or any number of opportunities. Becoming a member of the chamber and attending meetings will also help you stay plugged in on the latest community activities, as well as any needs that may arise your club can asisst with, whether that be a hosting a donation drive or volunteering at a local festival.

For more information, read this blog post detailing seven reasons every non-profit should be a member of their local chamber.

Don’t forget to always wear your Civitan name badge!

SIX: SEND A PRESS RELEASE TO LOCAL NEWS OUTLETS

A press release may sound overwhelming and like something only a professional can do, but really, it’s pretty easy. Dictionary.com defines a press release as simply “an official statement issued to newspapers giving information on a particular matter.”

Never drated a press release? Not to worry! We’ve created a template for you. Just fill in the blanks with information that is specific to your club. Make your local news media aware of how their community is being changed and impacted by Civitans.

Download template press release here.

SEVEN: CONTACT A LOCAL NEWS OR RADIO STATION TO DO A STORY OR INTERVIEW

When trying to build public awareness of Civitan, your local media can be one of your greatest assets.  When approached the right way, they can do more to promote your club than hundreds of dollars in advertising.  By understanding how to work with your local media, you can do amazing things to showcase your club, your service projects and your fundraisers.  Before contacting your local news outlets, sit down and think about what makes your story newsworthy.  Remember something that’s newsworthy to your club may not be newsworthy to everyone else in the community.

Dowload our in-depth media relations guide including information on print, television, and non-traditional media outlets here.

EIGHT: PLAN A SPECIAL SERVICE PROJECT

What better way to spread awareness for your club, that renew your commitment to service and make an impact on your community that people will notice? All it takes to combine service and awareness is a little extra planning. Are you hosting a donation drive? Do it in a high-traffic, high visibility part of town, with plenty of Civitan branding around the receptacle. Set up an information table and hand out information on your club. Place an ad in the local newspaper asking for donations. If you use social media for publicity, make sure to tag city accounts, the chamber, the organization you are benefitting, and any other accounts who will help share and spread the word about what you are doing. 

Make sure to include language like “In honor of Civitan Awareness Month and our International legacy of service, the ABC Civitan Club will be carrying out the XYZ project during the month of April, and would love your support!”

Have you reviewed our new and growing Club Project Toolkit resource library? Find it here for inspiration and guidance on some great club projects you could quickly and easily pick up, even during a pandemic. 

NINE: HOLD A VIRTUAL RECRUITMENT MEETING

Have you hit pause on recruiting during the COVID-19 pandemic? Don’t let it stop you. Zoom and other virtual meeting platforms give us great opportunity to meet and even recruit new members virtually.

Plan a recruitment meeting just as you normally would, identify potential new members, make phone calls, send letters, contact local businesses and agencies. Invite speakers from International or the CIRC. Put together an inspiring slide presentation about the history and success of your club. Share your why. Just do it all via the computer. 

Make it a goal for your club to reach out via mail, email and/or phone to 25 potential new members during the month of April, and hopefully several of them will fall in love with your mission, and become new advocates of the Civitan mission in your community! 

TEN: HOLD A VIRTUAL SERVANT’S HEART AWARDS

Civitan International’s clubs across the world can take part in the Servant’s Heart Awards.  This is a global awareness project that honors people who support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like teachers, paraprofessionals and therapists.  Clubs may take the opportunity to showcase the winners at a reception, school program, or other event.  The project reflects Civitan International’s ties to the creation of special education programs across the United States.

Only a little flexibility and open mindedness are needed to take this project from in-person to virtual. Ideas on how to pivot include: hosting your Servant’s Heart Awards Ceremony on Zoom, inviting awardees and local leaders, buy an ad in local media outlets to advertise your winner, put up a banner somewhere around town congratulating your winner, create and share facebook posts about your winner, making sure to tag them.

If your club or district would like to take part in this project, click here to access the Servant’s Heart Awards toolkit.

Watch our “What a Servant’s Heart Looks Like” video here.

Watch past Georgia District Governor, Mary Karras, present to this year’s class of Governors-Elect on their district’s successful SHA program here.

Did your club complete this project succesfully? We’d love to see and share! Email us at growth@civitan.org.