In the last week I have had the brilliant opportunity to participate in two community awareness and fundraising events. One was local to BC, the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) and Black Press Reach-A-Reader Day literacy campaign. The other was International Plain Language Day Oct 13, iplday.org, a virtual, global celebration. They may seem worlds apart - but really they are very close in many ways - and we can all learn from them.
CBAL's local literacy awareness and fundraising campaign involved partnerships, promotions, and people - volunteering time to shout about it on street corners in their towns. They raised funds that stay in their communities - by taking donations and handing out local newspapers. It was energizing to see the support live. And, the results will be felt in these communities as the funds stay with them to support local programs.
International Plain Language Day, Oct 13 celebrations involved the global community - Canada, US, UK, South Africa, New Zealand, and more - supporting this cause with local meetings; a virtual conference using YouTube, SlideShare, their website; and, social media - LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. Donated presentations made up the content, volunteers promoted it, and hundreds watched, listened, posted and tweeted about plain language. It was motivating to be part of it. And, the results wil be felt far and wide, as the plain language global community opens its doors and invites everyone in.
These two events may seem totally unrelated - but they both had common themes: increasing people's access to and understanding of - education opportunities; health and legal information and services; workplace training and learning opportunities; community support and participation. They were both led by passionate professionals and supported by committed volunteers - and followed on an idea someone felt was important. There is a lot of powerful energy that comes from these types of events. Harness it, learn from it, and put it to work in your community.
Kate Harrison Whiteside has over 25 years experience in plain language, writing and editing, training and consulting.