To provide maximum support to The American Legion, the Auxiliary must be well thought of in the community. It must have a reputation for worthwhile community endeavors. This can only be accomplished by telling the public about the work of the Auxiliary and its value to the community.
Public relations is simply a matter of establishing and maintaining goodwill. It is telling the general public of the value of the American Legion Auxiliary to the community and the country. Public Relations covers every kind of communication from personal contact in casual conversation, to speakers , and to carefully prepared news releases for the media. It is not a complicated job, but it is a vitally important one. It is a job for every member of the Auxiliary as well as the Public Relations Committee.
There is only one way to build a reputation for worthwhile work, and that is by doing things well and making sure the public is aware of both the effort and the result. There are many ways to build goodwill, and an active Unit will take advantage of each of them, appointing a committee to make personal contact with newspapers, radio, and television stations, thus building a bridge from the Unit to the media. There is interesting and important information that can be given to the public about all the Auxiliary programs.
Local Broadcasting and Training
There are many programs devoted to the local community that can provide an avenue for reaching the public. The local program schedule (published in the newspaper) can point out opportunities. Many radio and television stations provide air time for public service announcements. There are locally produced talk shows and sports on human interest stories. Community access television and community calendars are other options.
The Unit chairman should meet with the staff of all available electronic and print media to explain the Unit’s objectives. Frankly asking for suggestions fro the station on how these programs can be promoted can encourage interest and provide solutions. The Chairman should offer to provide information on veteran’s affairs, community service and other matters to assist the media. The chairman can provide the opportunity and, at the same time, build and excellent rapport with the media that will be helpful in the future. If she asks for their professional assistance, they will usually be happy to help. Be sure to thank them for their cooperation.
Your National and Department committees can offer suggestions and give assistance, but it is up to the local chairman and members to put a Public Relations program into action.
You have a wonderful story to tell; the story of the American Legion Auxiliary. If you use the right approach, know your program, and have established goodwill in the community and good rapport with the media, you can bring invaluable support to all your program activities.
Unit Newsletter Awards
Due to national PR Chairman by June 1 An award will be presented to the Unit Public Relations Chairman in each Division who submits the best Unit newsletter/bulletin. Copies of three Unit newsletter/bulletin must be submitted.
Include a narrative of 500 words or less by the unit PR Chairman on how the newsletter/bulletin is prepared and how it is distributed. The newsletter/bulletin may be one that is jointly published by the Post and Unit. A copy of the Unit’s Public Relations Annual Report must be included.
Department Internet Award
Due to National PR Chairman by June 1. An award will be presented to the Department submitting the best Internet Web Site. Submit the e-mail address and paper copies of the Internet Web Site. A narrative of 500 words or less by the Department Public Relations Chairman is to be included explaining how the web site was established, who maintains the site and what results have been recognized from having the Web Site. Include a copy of the Department’s Public Relations Annual Report.
Unit Press Book Awards
Due to Divisional Chairman by June 1 An award will be presented to the Unit Public relations Chairman in each Division who submits the best Unit Press book. Each Department Chairman will mail her selection of the best press book from her Department to the Divisional Chairman. Materials must be prepared in a press book no larger than 12″ x 15″ . The first page of the entry must include the name and address of the unit Chairman and name of the Unit. The entry must also include a completed copy of the Unit’s Annual Report form and a narrative report not to exceed 1,000 words, describing how the PR program was promoted in the Unit, making references to the newspaper clippings included in the press book. Photostat copies of newspaper articles may be used but cannot exceed 1/3 of the total articles included in the press book. The name of the newspaper, date and page number must be at the top of each article. Newspaper articles and photographs concerning an Auxiliary function /program should be included in chronological order. No more than three different copies of the Unit newsletter/bulletin should be included. ONLY PRESS BOOKS WITH RETURN POSTAGE WILL BE RETURNED.
Department Press Book Awards
Material must be prepared in a press book no larger than 12″ x 15″. The first page of the entry must include the name of the Department PR Chairman and the total membership of the Department. The entry must also include a completed copy of the annual Report and a narrative report not exceeding 1,000 words describing how the PR program was promoted in the Department , making references to the newspaper clippings included in the press book. The newspaper articles and newspaper photographs concerning an Auxiliary function/program should be included in chronological order. Photostat copies of newspaper articles may be included but must not exceed 1/3 of the total articles included in the press book. No more than three different copies of the Department newsletter/bulletin should be included. ONLY PRESS BOOKS WITH RETURN POSTAGE WILL BE RETURNED BY THE FOLLOWING NATIONAL PR COMMITTEE MEMBER.
Department Press Book Award
Department with less than 7,000 members
Ruby Ward Award
Department with 7,001 to 10,000 members
Elisabeth Lainson Award
Department with 10,001 to 25,000 members
Betty Burdett Award
Department with 25,001 to 35,000 members
Department Press Book Award
Department with over 35,000 members
Nationally known media professionals will do judging from each media category. Criteria used will be content, creative approach, technical quality, effectiveness, quality and impact.