In August 2011, voting members at the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted resoundingly to roll out the ELCA Malaria Campaign to the whole church. At that time, we honored the work of our 11 “pilot synods,” who had been pioneers and guinea pigs, testing and creating the materials and structures that we now recommend to you. Here are some of the top things they learned about guiding their synods through a campaign to raise awareness and funds for the work of the ELCA Malaria Campaign:
Many thanks to all of our "pilots"!
1.) Communication is key. Connect with ELCA Malaria Campaign staff. Connect with synod office. Congregational volunteers should connect with the pastor(s) to agree on timing and tactics of the campaign. Report back to congregation/synod often, and celebrate your success.
2.) Use the synod structures. Synod assembly is a great time to kick off a campaign. Use synod leadership such as conference deans, and synod communications structures such as newsletter and Web site. The most successful campaigns have a very engaged bishop/synod office.
3.) Have engaged volunteers. Find a contact person at each congregation. Communicate with them regularly.
4.) Equip everyone. Make sure every volunteer and every congregation has the resources they need. Offer a lot of engagement options, and let congregations choose what’s right for them. Encourage congregations to reach as many sectors/groups as possible. Be intergenerational and inclusive.
5.) Let the youth lead! Engage, equip and empower youth to lead ELCA Malaria Campaign activities within their congregations. Youth often have leadership skills, enthusiasm and compassion for those who suffer. Tap into those traits and showcase their enthusiasm—with a talent show, a series of noisy offerings, or even a congregational strategy.
6.) Persevere. In some congregations, a six-week campaign is all it takes. Some congregations may want to engage in campaign fundraising for a year or more. Some congregations will catch on quickly; some will be slow to respond. Be patient, and keep telling the story.
7.) Be systematic. On a synod level, you might organize congregations in terms of how much encouragement they’re likely to need, or in terms of size, giving history or special areas of interest. Calculate a specific challenge or a goal for each congregation. Encourage some friendly competition.
8.) Find some authentic stories. Connect with people in your congregation or community who have a malaria story to tell. Perhaps they come from a country in Africa with whom we’re partnering. Or maybe they got malaria when they were serving in the military or traveling overseas. Real stories resonate.
9.) Create a visual display. Create a display for awareness—try a mosquito net or a “mascot” such as a giant mosquito. Create a display for fundraising, as well—perhaps a bulletin board charting your progress or a swarm of mosquitoes that slowly disappear as you raise more money.
10.) Have fun! Encourage folks to have fun with this campaign. The more creative a project, the more likely it will be remembered.