Democratic Women of Wake County

Betty Ray McCain Communications Award

Democratic Women of Wake County
Submission for DWNC 2020 Communications Award

It has been a whirlwind of a year for everyone, and Democratic Women of Wake County has been adjusting our sails along the journey to stay on course and accomplish our goals. The winds began to fill our sails in August as we prepared for two municipal elections. Members found election news and requests for volunteers in email requests and phone calls from, Henrietta Coursey, DWWC President, as well as through our Facebook group and web page.

The Super Tuesday Primary candidates began filing in December, leaving little time to get organized for more candidate forums. We were able to maintain our course of action until the primary, using email, our website and our Facebook Group to communicate regularly with our members, to register members for our meetings, and to keep members informed about upcoming events.

The February DWWC meeting was the last in-person meeting held in 2020. Board members responded quickly to the challenges and reset our sails for the unknown winds of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We share our experiences by using traditional and not-so-traditional methods to stay on course and to adjust our sails as we face the challenges of physical distancing, wearing face-masks, and frequent hand-washing.

Through it all we have remained connected with our members, even increasing our membership through good programming, and constant outreach. In addition to virtual meetings, we employ digital, postal, and in-person communication, and respond to members’ feedback.

In August 2019, the Democratic Women of Wake County set sail with thoughtfulness and courage, for a voyage filled with unknowns. Looking back through the Captain’s Log, below, we hope you will join us in a review of the voyage and realize that during this journey, we built a safety net for our sisterhood, that was deeply rooted in the Democratic values of leadership, fellowship, and valuing the voices of women in elected positions.

Dressed to Empower
50th Unity Breakfast

We open our 2019 – 2020 communication story with the promotion of the 50th Anniversary of the Unity Breakfast. To celebrate the legacy of advocacy, breakfast guests were given a copy of Finding Our Voices: How Democratic Women Have Fought for Full Political Participation, written by DWWC members. Going forward, new members are provided a copy.

50th Unity Breakfast 2019
Celebrating 50 years with the Unity Breakfast in 2019
Finding Our Voices: History of DWWC
Finding Our Voices

Fall 2019 Filled with Wake County Municipal Elections

Online Registration for September 2019 Raleigh-Cary Candidate Forum
Candidate Forum Promotion Fall 2019
November 5, 2019 Municipal CandidateForum
Henrietta Coursey and Helen Zimmerman
Henrietta Coursey and Helen Zimmerman in Garner

Fall was filled with activities supporting Wake County municipal elections. We used the DWWC Facebook group and our website to publicize candidate forums hosted in September for Raleigh and Cary, and in November for the remaining municipalities within the county.
Voter registration and early voting volunteers were coordinated through Facebook, our website, phone calls, Constant Contact-our digital email platform.

Using our website, email, and Facebook group DWWC recruited volunteers for Early Voting.

Wake County Democrats Open New Office and Welcome Former Attorney General Eric Holder

Eric Holder and Democratic Women

When Rebecca Llewellyn, our fearless Wake County Party Leader and former DWWC President put out the call to welcome Eric Holder to our WCDP office, Democratic Women were listening and came in full force.  When we stay in close contact, great opportunities present themselves. 

Giving Thanks and Gearing Up in November

Giving Thanks and Preparing for 2020 Elections

The guest speaker for the DWWC membership meeting was Dr. Bobbie Richardson, 1st Vice-Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Her message of encouragement was welcomed by a full house ready to take a break following the Fall Municipal Elections and preparing for Super Tuesday and the 2020 elections.

Holiday Shindig

Wake Democrat's Holiday Shindig
Wake County Democrats Celebrate the Holidays

For the Holidays, we cosponsored the  Holiday Shindig with the Wake County Democratic Party and other auxiliaries. The publicity and promotional design for the event was created by a member of our communitcations team, who was instrumental in pushing it out to Democrats throughout our county (and beyond). Held at the the Goodwin House, NCDP headquarters, the party was well attended. It was wall to wall dedicated Democrats and provided opportunities to connect with other auxiliaries, to celebrate together, have some fun with fellow Democrats, elected officials, and to share Fall election stories. It was truly a Holiday Shindig! Update Supports Engagement

After a review of the website, our new webmaster began implementing a plan for a more content-rich and interactive website, building upon exiting content. For example, simple additions included adding community educational activities to the ongoing monthly themes, which are promoted through the website and email messages.

Additional updates include online forms connected to ActBlue for membership and registration for monthly meetings, and the addition of a Spanish language translation of our membership page. The static home page was converted to a blog format, which facilitates the ability to keep content updated, to display up to six recent posts, and to locate prior posts. Later updates included a website search that enables searching the entire website, as well as a translation plugin so that the website can be viewed in 8 languages.

A close working relationship with the Publicity Chair enabled collaboration in promoting events on the website, social media, and email messages sent to members.

January Women’s March on Raleigh

Volunteer Sign Up at Women's March
Volunteer Sign Up at Women’s March on Raleigh
Women’s March on Raleigh DWWC Recruiting Volunteers
Women's March
January 2020 Women’s March on Raleigh

As we marched into 2020 we, well, marched! Democratic Women of Wake County’s presence was very obvious at the Women’s March on Raleigh rally as we hosted our own booth and talked to countless women of all ages. Face-to-face was the order of the day, and we got a great turnout of members through our communications tools. 

Through our website and other digital communications, we celebrated Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and more.

Black History Monty
Empowered Women Empower Women

Super Tuesday Comes to North Carolina

Moving into 2020, registration for DWWC meetings met capacity as we prepared for Super Tuesday and supported the Wake County primary candidates. In addition to our monthly meetings, DWWC shared the HKonJ People’s Assembly activities through our website, email, and social media.

Our in-person gatherings ended in February.

March Meeting Postponed Due to COVID-19

When Covid-19 shut things down in March, the DWWC board met and adopted the guidance of Governor Cooper and the COVID-19 Taskforce to cease in-person gatherings. It was disappointing, but necessary, to cancel our March meeting featuring guest speaker, NC First Lady Kristen Cooper.

Meanwhile, the DWWC Board transitioned to virtual meetings and developed a communication plan to contact all members for a wellness check. During wellness checks, members were asked about personal needs and provided community resources when requested.

Members reported being overwhelmed with messages filling up their email boxes about the pandemic, closures, and guidelines. The COVID-19 page of our website is the result of this feedback. The page includes 3 sections: Being Healthy, Helping Others, and Staying Connected.

Being Healthy provides links to consistently updated primary source information about COVID -19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, as well as links to Governor Cooper’s Taskforce, Wake County government, and the City of Raleigh resources. These resources enable members to locate current information about the disease and State and Local restrictions.

Helping Others content provides links to community organizations offering COVID-19 related assistance. Members provided input into the organizations listed.

Supporting the communication plan implemented by the DWWC Board, suggestions listed under Staying Connected include:

Another DWWC webpage, Get Involved, transitioned from sharing traditional campaign activities to supporting digital campaign opportunities. Links provided are activities of the Wake County Democratic Party, the North Carolina Democratic Party, and the National Democratic Training Committee.

Participation in training by these entities enabled DWWC to quickly moved from in-person to virtual meetings.

April Meeting Cancelled
April Meeting Cancelled

April Zooms In

For our first-ever virtual meeting, several of our local legislators provided updates on activities of the General Assembly, the impact of COVID-19 on their work, and the effects on North Carolinians.

April DWWCs First Virtual Meeting

Following the directives of Governor Cooper, the DWWC Board voted to conduct all meeting activities virtually until in-person meetings are deemed safe. With a strong push through emails, social media, our website, announcements at various other groups’ events, phone calls, and cards, we keep our auxiliary connected.

Unity Breakfast Cancelled

Unity Breakfast Cancelled

Through virtual meetings, email and phone calls, the board soon came to the difficult but unanimous decision that the 51st Unity Breakfast, our annual fundraiser, would be cancelled. We broke the news to our members and potential attendees utilizing our various communication channel. The Fundraising Committee went to work on alternative and appropriate ways to raise funds.

May Meeting Promotion and Unfortunate Cancellation

Cathy Moore, Wake County Superifntemdemt

Members were excited to register for our May meeting to hear Cathy Moore, Superintendent of Wake County Schools, provide information about virtual instruction, ending the current school year, and plans for returning to in-person instruction. A few days before the event, a death in the family of our guest speaker required that the meeting be canceled. An email from Zoom and our website, email, and our Facebook group helped publicize the cancelation with plans to reschedule the event sometime in the future.

May Brings Changes to Facebook

DWWC is moving
DWWC is on the Move

The potential of misuse of social media for the November elections led board members to determine a change was needed. Those with digital media responsibilities participated in digital media workshops and devised a plan to develop a more focused and intentional use of Facebook, our social media platform.

Since the establishment of the initial private Facebook group almost ten years ago, Facebook has expanded options for groups. With guidance from digital training and personal experience, a decision was made to create a public Facebook page for sharing DWWC and campaign events and to transition to a new private group. As a perk for members, this new private group provides a more secure venue for sharing auxiliary-related activities.

DWWC Goes Public

Public Facebook Page

DWWC Members Only Facebook Group

DWWC Members Only FB group
DWWC Members Only Facebook Update

DWWC Website Shares Candidates’ Events

Campaign 2020 Events, a listing of upcoming campaign events was added to the Calendar section of the DWWC webpage, in May. Events added to the DWWC calendar are tagged campaign 2020 and automatically appear on this page. Using the social share function on our website, these events are easily shared through social media. A form is provided on the page for candidates’ to add events. This is where events from Facebook and Mobilize are also reposted.

June Brings First Lady, Kristin Cooper, to our Meeting

Register to hear "In her own voice "Kristin Cooper
Kristin Cooper First Lady

Our second virtual meeting was a hit! Kristin Cooper (initially scheduled for our March meeting) joined us as our guest and was a great way to end our programs for the year. Our members were comfortable with the meeting format, our First Lady was gracious in sharing her home with us, and the Zoom gallery option allowed DWWC members to see each other during social times at the beginning and end of the meeting. It has been amazing to see how our members have adapted to the virtual environment, even helping each other out with Zoom tools.

July’s Deep Dive into Social Media

Deep Dive into Social Media workshop announcement
Deep Dive into Social Media workshop announcement

We planned two different events in July. The first one, Deep Dive Into Social Media was well attended. Over 50 people from across the state participated. This event was co-sponsored by the DWNC and led by the National Democratic Training Committee.
This training was well-received with participants wanting to know more. A Facebook group is in development for sharing best practices among North Carolina’s Democratic digital media volunteers.

Virtual Open House

Our virtual open house for members was postponed and is rescheduled for the Fall. The open house will include a tour of our social media platforms, our website, and other digital tools. The open house will also serve as an opportunity to recruit volunteers for DWWC communications and other committees.

Unity T-Shirt Fundraiser

Unity T-Shirt Sale Fundraiser

Our Fundraising Team finalized plans in July for a t-shirt sale as a replacement for the Unity Breakfast Fundraiser. The team activities included developing images of the t-shirt for promotion, deciding on a vendor, and setting up an online store through ActBlue.

The funds raised through the Unity 2020 t-shirt sale support 2020 candidates, in addition to promoting awareness of DWWC and the anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Cup ‘O Joe Welcomed Kamala Harris as Biden’s VP selection During Power of the Pen Kick-Off

Click to Play the Invitation to Cup ‘O Joe Power of the Pen Kick-Off

The weekend following the Democratic National Convention, DWWC held a virtual Saturday morning Cup ‘O Joe Power of the Pen Kickoff. Members had fun sharing what was in their cup, a summer activity they enjoyed, celebrating the VP selection, talking Dem Politics, and hearing about of Power of the Pen activities, led by Lucy Aikens and Henrietta Coursey.

Power of the Pen
2020 Power of the Pen


2020 Voting During the Pandemic

Voter Information
Voting in the 2020 Election

With court challenges, changing district lines, and the option to vote by mail simplified for all North Carolinians, we updated the Voter Invormation page on our website. The page provides a place where the most current Board of Elections information can be accessed and other voter resources for making informed decisions about how, when, and where to vote. The page is continually updated as changes are announced by the Wake County Board of Elections.

August Commemoration of the 19th Amendment

August 2020 DWWC Meeting
DWWC Recognize Women’s Accomplishments

North Carolina’s Women’s Equality Day was the theme for the August DWWC meeting. Over 60 members and guests participated. Featured speakers and topics are listed below.

Mary Williams-Stover,
NC Status on Women

Jimmie Cohran Pratt,
Equal Rights Amendment
Why we need it and how to get it passed

Dianna Wynn,
Women’s Suffrage and
the 19th Amendment

Aylett Colston,
Voting rights and political action

It’s September!

DWWC’s work continues using cards, phone calls, our website, and social media to keep our members updated, informed, and connected. The t-shirts ordered during August have arrived and members are submitting pictures for inclusion on our website and social media.

We are attending the DWNC Annual Convention in lieu of our September meeting, but our activities continue inclouding co-hosting phonebanks to support Democratic Candidates and Power of the Pen Writing Parties. As we continue our count down to Election Day 2020, DWWC continues to look to the horizon as we set a course into 2021.

A Sampling of DWWC’s Multi-Faceted Communications

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