WHAT I LEARNED: 1. The guest for my next “CAL Chat” podcast episode (#7) chose this booklet, “The Best of Public Outreach” (item # P-90), as his favorite outreach piece. I’ll be posting that episode soon at www.calchat.libsyn.com, but wanted to get my review in this blog first. This hardcopy booklet was originally printed in 2000 & it came in a folder with pockets. It was subtitled: “A ‘How to Workbook’ for Public Outreach Service Activities” & was a huge success. So much so that, per page 72 of the 2000 World Service Conference Summary (item # P-46), it made 3 other outreach kits obsolete: Interim PI, Institutions, & CPC kits (item #’s K-3, K-S, K-15) so the World Service Office discontinued them. Then, in 2012, the booklet became available on-line only. It can be found at the Members’ website: www.al-anon.org/members/pdf/bestofpublicoutreach.pdf. It still says it was last updated in March of 2012, but certain parts of it have actually been updated very recently such as the new 2017 “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism” outreach magazine (on page 18) & the road sign posters available with different backgrounds (on page 26).
2. I’m glad they updated the booklet! The newer version seems more comprehensive, less gender-specific, & references current media avenues. For instance, there is less emphasis on mailing items, using the phone book & fax machines, plus it doesn’t mention leaving literature in “canteens” or suggest outreach meetings that sound more like Tupperware parties with the recommendation to plan ahead & make “arrangements for a babysitter” (page 10). (I guess that’s good for a glimpse of how Al-Anon used to be.) I also learned that because the “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism” outreach magazines didn’t start up until 2007, copies of The Forum magazine were given out instead!
3. I’m familiar with Al-Anon as a fellowship, but this service tool talks about Al-Anon as a resource. It stresses the importance of outreach projects mainly to professionals to improve Al-Anon’s name recognition & credibility, but it also has plenty of ideas for simpler outreach ideas to non-professionals. One idea I liked, that was a small thing, is from page 19: “March 4th – ‘Leave Al-Anon literature’ on Lois W.’s birthday.” I’ve already marked it on my calendar to make sure I do some type of outreach on that particular day. …Because doing public outreach service doesn’t have to be a big undertaking… it’s just planting a seed.
4. And almost last, but not least, it talked about the public service announcements that are available to watch on the main Al-Anon site. They’re at: www.al-anon.org/media-files. There are 2 versions for TV, each 30 seconds long & they were interesting to see!
5. I have 3 favorite lines from this piece:
From page 9 (of the hardcopy booklet from 2000): “First make it fun & they will come!”
From page 39: “Remember to communicate with the various service levels about successes—and even ‘flops’.”