At its heart LGBT History Month is about events: performances, film screenings, book readings, club nights, discussion groups, parties, exhibitions, themed walks, lectures, sports events, debates, quizzes, games, info. sessions, and whatever else you can think of!
LGBT History Month is built on a foundation of partnership work – at international, national, and local levels – and through a belief that we are stronger together. By working in partnership you can ensure that LGBT History Month is diverse, accessible, meaningful and fun!
• Small or grassroots LGBT group? Try approaching larger mainstream organisations or services who may be able to provide a free venue or sponsor refreshments.
• Non-LGBT organisation looking to engage with an LGBT audience? Work with local LGBT groups to make sure you’re meeting the needs and wants of the community.
• Trying to build links and networks within the LGBT community in your area? Consider setting up a development group or planning group which will bring together lots of different strengths and ideas.
• Service provider or local authority? You know you’re inclusive of LGBT people. But do LGBT communities know it? Use LGBT History Month to let them know by arranging an event to engage with them.
• An individual hoping to take part? Look for local groups or organisations who would be interested in being involved and approach them with your ideas! Put up posters and other publicity in your workplace, campus, community hall, etc.
When considering your target audience, don’t rule any group out. Times change and so do attitudes. Use every avenue to let people know what you’re doing – never assume they wouldn’t be interested. What you do will of course depend on your budget and who you want to attract.
Consider some of the following ways you might attract visitors to your LGBT History Month event:
Can be displayed in shop windows, libraries, on community/parish notice boards and other suitable sites. Remember to take them down after your event, as out-of-date posters can be a turn-off. A4 posters can be printed up on a home printer. Don’t try and squeeze in too much detail – your graphics and type should be large.
If you have some money, flyers are not too expensive – 5000 A6 full color flyers would cost about £130 or less. Or photocopy some and (with permission) flyer your local pubs/clubs, libraries or other venues whose patrons might be interested in your event.
No longer the only game in town of course, but still worthwhile. Two smaller adverts in What’s On over two weeks may well get better results than one larger one. Lots of publications have FREE listings – The Metro or The List for instance are always looking for upcoming events.
Try contacting local television or radio stations in your area who may be interested in covering an exciting new event, particularly as it plays into the broader story of LGBT History Month. A good angle will help: perhaps this is the first LGBT History Month event in your area, or maybe you have some dignitaries in the area that back LGBT equality – get a quote from them and put it in your press release.
Parish and community publications often offer cheap advertising rates, and can be hungry for editorial copy provided it relates to a local cause or local people.
If your event concerns fund-raising for a particular church or charity, or is likely to attract enthusiasts with a particular interest, then you could try getting in touch with specialist magazines. If suitable, you could suggest discounted entry or some other benefit to the editor as a reader offer.
The Royal Mail offers some free lifestyle and demographic targeting services based on postcode sectors, but these will only be of use if your proposed drop is 50,000 items or more. You can organize leaflet drops through various delivery agencies, but if you operate very locally ask members of your group or supportive groups to help out with flyering and putting up posters. This will help to both promote your event and build good links for the future.
You’ll be using your own website if you have one. LGBT History Month Scotland’s website also provides free event listings. Facebook and Twitter are great ways to promote an event, particularly Facebook which will let you set up an online ‘event’, provide details, directions etc. and invite your Facebook friends. Making the event public will mean that your friends can invite their own friends – if it comes across well from your Facebook listing, the event may be shared widely and pick up attendees who wouldn’t otherwise have heard of it.
You could also make a list of networks and organisations (both local and national) who might be interested in promoting your night, and ask them to email members about the event. Make sure you do all the work for them – write them a clear email with all event details, contact details etc.
Tell everyone you know personally, email, telephone, chat… and ask them to let their friends know too!