Set goals for your family discovery day. How many people do you want to have attend? Who most needs to attend? What is the message you hope to convey? As you plan your event and the experiences you will provide, it is important that you return frequently to your goals and ask, “Does this approach or idea help us accomplish our goals?”
Keep Your Audience in Mind
Keep your audience in mind. We often plan events that we would like to attend, without thinking about who we are inviting. Keep the needs of your audience in mind. If you do not know what they want or need to learn, ask them. If your main audience is the members in your area who do not participate in family history, talk to a few of them, and find out what stops them from participating. When you know what help they need, you are better able to plan an event that they would like to attend.
Creating a family-friendly event makes it easier for many people to choose to come. Knowing that their entire family is welcome and will be part of a shared experience is compelling for many people. Be careful not to exclude those without traditional families. Let your stake or district members know that everyone is welcome.
Be considerate of your audience. Choose a date that does not conflict with a holiday or with other activities.
Consider how long the event should last. You do not have to cover everything in one event. You can schedule follow-up sessions, include topics in Sunday lessons, or schedule recorded RootsTech sessions for viewing at a family history center.
Find New Ways to Share the Invitation
Announcing your family discovery day in ward bulletins, handing out flyers, and making announcements in Relief Society and priesthood meetings are good ways to invite Church members to attend, but these methods may not reach everyone. Consider alternative ways to share the invitation.
Use social media. With the approval of your local priesthood leader, create a social media page for your event (on Facebook, for example). Share news regularly about what participants can expect to find at the event. Carefully follow the guidelines for use of the Internet in Church callings, as explained in Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 21.1.22.
Place posters in creative places. In the weeks leading up to family discovery day, do not just put the poster up on the bulletin board in the meetinghouse. Consider placing posters by the meetinghouse library, by the restrooms, in the Primary room, and in other frequently visited areas of the building. Something placed in an unusual location may be seen by more people.
Remember those who serve in the Primary, Young Women, and Young Men organizations. They often miss announcements because of where they serve on Sunday. Make sure that they are invited. Also invite children and youth to attend the event and to bring their families.
Reach Out to Your Community
Look for places in your community where you can display promotional materials. Public libraries, senior centers, grocery stores, teacher associations, parent groups in your local school, after-school programs, gyms, child-care facilities, neighborhood meetings, and community centers often have bulletin boards where you can place notices for events. Look for online bulletin boards where you can post information about family discovery day as well.
Contact local newspapers or neighborhood newsletter editors, and let them know about your nonprofit event. They may run a free notice for you or publish an article about the event.
Contact local public radio stations. They may have programs to talk about community interests such as family history. They may be able to announce your event for free.
Talk to local genealogical or historical societies. They may be willing to notify their members or post an announcement on their social media page or website.
Talk to the full-time missionaries. Ask them to invite their investigators and the friends they make as they do service in the community.
Have your committee members put signs on their lawns, letting people know of the free family history activity. Keep the message short, with the date, time, location, and how to register.