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Luttrell: Letís make publicity a priority for every Grange

By Edward Luttrell - New Grange, September/October 2011

  OCTOBER 11, 2011 --

I am often asked why National Grange doesn’t seem to get any publicity in the local community. My response is that usually your local paper is more concerned with local news than national news.

Grange publicity is not just the responsibility of the State and National Grange, we each have an important role to play. Publicity is a priority because our growth, community support, and reputation all hinge on how we are viewed by others. The reason for seeking publicity is that how you are viewed by others will determine if they will support your activities, if they might be interested in joining, and what they say about you. If we let others speak for us, the image of the Grange will not be nearly as positive as it would be if we tell our own stories.

Over the past four years, I have been in each state that has a State Grange at least twice, and most states a number of times. I have spoken to other organizations, had numerous media interviews, and participated in many State Grange events. I have made dozens of videos, written articles and blogs to get the Grange message out to members and potential members. Each opportunity teaches us how to do a better job of getting the Grange name and activities in front of the public. 

In these four years, a lot of new PR materials have been developed and we are constantly updating and improving each item as our members comment on using them. We are currently working on a number of “Join the Grange” materials. 

The media relations portion of the Communication Department duties has been given a higher priority and we have made great strides in increasing the visibility of the National Grange. One of the essentials is that we are building partnerships with the State Granges. When State and National Grange work together, it is a multiplier for our efforts.

Every Grange needs a publicity/media relations committee or team. Their duty is not just sending out information on your Grange’s activities and events, but to build a relationship with the local media people. When you are on a first name basis with a reporter, editor, or radio show host, it makes getting information into that media much easier.

In addition, when your Grange has a relationship with your local media, it becomes much more likely that the editor or station manager will view press releases from your State and National Grange as important to the readers and listeners. 

Each member has the responsibility to present a positive image of the Grange to the public. The task of educating them on what to say and how to say it should be done by your publicity committee and each Master should strive to set the example.

Every Grange should appoint a committee or team to ensure that all the good work you do, all the great ways you benefit your community, all the opportunities that your members have, are shared with your community. From my point of view, the publicity committee becomes the partner of the membership committee to grow your Grange!

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