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There's power in the voices of pro-choice students on your campus, and when You are Here! you organize those voices and work together to promote reproductive health and rights, you have a force that’s more strategic, focused, and powerful than if you work alone. Organizing a VOX group is a fantastic way to  have fun, meet new people, and make connections on campus  develop organizing skills  gain valuable personal and career experience This guide should help you lead a VOX group on your campus and teach you how to mobilize your fellow students to support reproductive rights and family planning services. You'll learn how to register your group with your university's administration, build coalitions with other student groups on campus, expand your membership base, hold effective meetings, plan fun and educational events, lobby your legislators in support of pro-choice policies, and work with the media to gain publicity for your efforts.

There's power in your voice. Use it!


It's a safe bet that you or someone you know on campus has been in one of the following situations: I need accurate information about sex and about how to take care of my body. I want to protect myself against pregnancy and I'm wondering if I should go on the Pill. I think I might have a sexually tran transmitted smitted infection. I want to get a checkup so I can be healthy. I had unprotected sex, and I need to speak to someone about the risks. Help! I didn't mean to get pregnant, but I am.

All across America,college students turn to health centers for information and services to help them stay healthy and prevent unplanned pregnancies. You may be one of those students. But what would you do if you knew that anti anti-choice choice politicians fight to deny women and men access to such information and services? What would you do if you knew that anti-choice anti choice organizations spend millions of dollars on campuses each year to limit access to reproductive health programs and to keep college students in the dark about sexuality? sexuality What if they were on your campus and tried to limit your access? You'd want to protect the services and information that you and your friends rely on, and VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood is the way to do that.


The threats to reproductive health and rights come from religious political extremists who pass dangerous federal and state laws and form radical right organizations that mobilize antichoice students on college campuses across the country. These anti-choice forces are determined to limit access to reproductive health services and create public policies that deny women and men the fundamental right to decide whether and when they want to have children. But you can counter the influence of anti-choice forces on your campus and campaign for reproductive health and rights at the state and national levels by leading a VOX group at your university.


*Please note that not all campus groups that Planned Parenthood works with are named VOX. These groups still have access to advising, programming and materials from Planned Parenthood. They just don’t benefit from the name and branding.

VOX groups across the country:

organize events to raise public awareness about reproductive rights, educate young people and campuses about sexual health, work with and support their local Planned Parenthood health centers, and mobilize advocates of reproductive freedom. VOX is the latin word for "voice" Planned Parenthood wants to ensure that Congress hears the VOX populi- "the voice of the people."

Did you know? Despite the fact that the majority of Americans support access to reproductive health care and information: • Half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended. • The US has the highest rates of teen pregnancy, teen birth, and teen abortion in the Western world. • Worldwide a woman dies from pregnancy related causes every minute.

That's outrageous!! What can I do to change that?


The first step to leading a VOX group on your campus is to contact your local Planned Parenthood affiliate and let them know your plans. Someone at your local Planned Parenthood will serve as a great resource and COMMUNITY ADVISOR to your group, provide you with VOX materials, help you bring speakers and films to campus, and guide your advocacy and voter mobilization efforts.

It’s all in the name… PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA, INC. is the nation's largest and most trusted voluntary reproductive health care organization. Founded by Margaret Sanger in 1916 as America's first birth control clinic, the goal of Planned Parenthood is: every woman healthy and safe, every

child wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. We believe that respect and value for diversity in all aspects of our organization are essential to our well-being. We believe that reproductive selfdetermination must be voluntary and preserve the individual's right to privacy. We further believe that such self-determination will contribute to an enhancement of the quality of life, strong family relationships, and population stability. Based on these beliefs, and reflecting the diverse communities in which we operate, the mission of Planned Parenthood is • • • •

to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and right of each individual. to advocate public policies which guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services. to provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality. to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bio Did You Know? ethical, behavioral, and social 1 in 5 American women have used implications.

Planned Parenthood services.


YOUR LOCAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD Local Planned Parenthood affiliates operate hundreds of health centers across the US, providing medical, educational, and other services to meet the family planning needs of millions of American men and women each year. Planned Parenthood health centers offer contraceptive services and counseling, Pap tests, breast exams, abortion, screening for sexually transmitted infections, prenatal and mid-life care, adoption referral, and more. Through the provision of contraceptive services, it is estimated that Planned Parenthood health centers help prevent more than 494,000 unintended pregnancies and 235,000 abortions in the United States each year. Affiliates also offer education and community training that enhances each person's ability to make responsible reproductive health decisions. In addition, they work to advocate for public policies that support comprehensive reproductive health education and guarantee the rights and access of each individual to complete and confidential reproductive health services.

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio * Planned Parenthood of Southeast Ohio * Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio *Wholly owned subsidiaries of PPCO

A shared effort of the three Planned Parenthood affiliates in Ohio, PPAO is the policy and organizing arm of the combined PP affiliates in Ohio. We work within this organization to coordinate grassroots organizing within the state.


Core Principles Reproductive Freedom We believe every individual has the fundamental right and responsibility to manage his or her fertility. We believe the decision to bring a child into the world should be a conscious decision which will assure that every child is wante wanted.

Right to Services We believe all people have the right to nondiscriminatory and confidential access to a full range of reproductive health care services. Access should not be limited by income, age, race, or lack of information.

Right to Privacy We believe reproductive decisions are private and confidential. We treat our patients in a dignified manner that is respectful of their right to privacy.

Adolescent Services We believe adolescents should have access to information about sexuality and reproductive health care services. Adolescents should be encouraged to talk to their families about reproductive health, contraception, abortion, or sexually transmitted infectionss and, when possible, involve parents or other responsible and concerned adults in their decision-making. decision

Abortion We believe women must have the right to obtain medically safe, legal abortions under dignified conditions and at a reasonable rate.

Responsible nsible Sex Education We believe all teens and adults in the community need honest, factual information to make responsible decisions. Responsible sex education helps reduce high rates of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Governmental Funding We believe governmental tal funding should continue to en ensure sure access to reproductive health care services for America's most vulnerable population: families and individuals with low incomes and young people.


With ONE VOICE The Importance of Message When we use the same words we speak with one powerful voice. We have a vision of what Planned Parenthood is and we want others to also see it the way we do- as the accessible, high quality, and trusted health care and information provider it is. We want the community to know that they can RELY ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD. This is especially important as we face more and more MAIN MESSAGE attacks on Planned Parenthood! YOU CAN RELY ON PLANNED There is power in repetition. Popular knowledge says that people need to hear something about seven times before it sinks in. •

This messaging will be used, not only in our conversations, but on social media, in op-ed pieces, in advertisements, in newsletters, in community presentations, everywhere we are. People will hear it, read it and remember it.

Sometimes we are caught off guard or, especially, in crisis we must maintain consistency in message. Why? •

Trust in Planned Parenthood remains strong over the course of the attacks from the past few years, but in order to maintain that trust in the Planned Parenthood brand we need to use the right words, tested language. Language is powerful! Strong Planned Parenthood branding statement blunts the impact of some attacks.

The message box is composed of four top line pro-active message points with a central message supporting Planned Parenthood. Working from the deflector, to the takeaway messages always bring it back to "You can rely on Planned Parenthood"


KEY TAKE-AWAY MESSAGES More than 96% of what Planned Parenthood does in Ohio is life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, breast health services, pap tests, and sexual health education and information. Nationally, 1 in 5 women have turned to Planned Parenthood at some time in their lives for professional, non-judgmental and confidential care.

KEY DEFLECTORS 1. Reporting: We’re required by law to report abuse and we take that responsibility seriously. We’re continuing to monitor and train all staff to understand our procedures and our role in protecting teens. 2. Profiteering: Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit; there are no profits. All revenues go into the services we provide in our local communities 3. De-funding: In these tough economic times, women should have access to essential health care services. 4. Racism: Planned Parenthood condemns racism and is here to support people of all races. Margaret Sanger’s statements made 80 years ago were wrong then and are wrong now.

BIG PICTURE DOS AND DON’TS OF MESSAGING DO: Always lead in with our wide range of health care services | Always call Planned Parenthood a Non-Profit | Mention 1 in 5 women served | Speak in a Confident and NonJudgmental Voice | Emphasize Confidential and COMPASSIONATE care DON’T: Don’t go off message… that’s quicksand and is a trap | Don’t be divisive | Stay away from harsh names but build context about WHY they are doing what they are doing. We have facts on our side and don’t need to revert to name-calling.


The First Year & Every Year The second step is to get to know your campus community.

Do some basic research about your university to assess the need for a VOX on your campus and determine how much support there will be for your group’s mission and activities. Some questions to consider are: • • • • • • • • •

Is your school a small private college or a large public university? Is the student body considered to be progressive or conservative? Can you identify supportive professors who might serve as faculty advisors? Is there a womens’ studies program that you can work with? Are there feminist and pro-choice student groups? Are there anti-choice student groups? Does the campus health center provide comprehensive reproductive health care for students? Are condoms and other safer-sex materials readily available in the dorms? Is there a women's center on campus?

The third step is to find your members! Identify friends who share your interest in reproductive rights. Contact existing reproductive rights groups, womens' groups, and the head of the womens' studies department at your college. Let them know that you're planning to start a VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood group and give them an opportunity to be involved and support your efforts.

YOUR FIRST MEETING Invite everyone who is interested in VOX to come to a brief initial meeting, preferably somewhere fun and casual, such as coffee house. Use this opportunity to define the mission or purpose of your group: Why should your group exist on campus? Who will be your members and what will be their concern? What do you hope to accomplish this semester/quarter? This year? Once your core group of committed members has defined the mission of the group, consider planning a kickoff party to introduce your new group to the rest of the campus community and attract new members. A good party will include food, giveaways, and a brief but informative presentation on VOX and reproductive rights. Contact the public affairs director of your local Planned Parenthood affiliate for help in planning your kickoff party, getting materials and inviting a speaker. Make sure you have everyone sign in and give you their contact information… More about communication and your “list” later.


BE RECOGNIZED! Gaining official university recognition for your group will qualify you for valuable university resources such as funding, advising, office space, meeting rooms, banking services, advertising and promotional services, leadership training and more. To register a VOX group, contact the administrative office that approves student organizations, often called the Office of Student Affairs or the Office of Student Activities. The role of this office is to provide resources and assistance to help students build successful organizations and organize quality programs and activities. The office staff is there to help you start your organization, bring a guest speaker to campus, host a concert or film screening, and plan fundraisers and other fun activities. Contact the office and ask them what procedures must be followed to start a student group. They will provide you with the university's guidelines for student organizations and may ask you to submit paperwork and a constitution for your group. Please note that the process may take longer than the initial year and/or there may be a probationary period for your group. If so, please pass this information on to the next year’s leaders so they know to continue the process. A constitution is a statement of purpose and set of procedures that guides the activities and decisions of your organization.

SAMPLE CONSTITUTION MISSION: VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood of {university name} exists to educate the university community about reproductive health and rights, to translate increased awareness into pro-chioice activism on campus, and to serve as a coalition partner to state, national, and international reproductive rights efforts. VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood at {university name} believes in the fundamental right of every individual to manage his or her fertility. VOX supports full access to comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings that preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual; advocates public policies that guarantee these rigths and ensure access to such services; and supports access to medically accurate educational programs that enhance understanding of human sexuality.

ARTICLE I: Membership VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood is open to all students, faculty, administrators, and staff of {university name}. VOX encourages diversity among its membership and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, religion, or disability.

ARTICLE II: Executive Structure The Executive Board of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood is composed of a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. The duties of the president and vice president include serving as spokespersons for the organization, serving as the primary contacts to the Office of Student Affairs, and forging alliances with off-campus organizations. The duties of the secretary include recording, transcribing, and distributing meeting minutes, coordinating advertising and publicity of events, and disseminating information to the membership. The duties of the treasurer include managing the finances of the organization and preparing financial reports for the membership.

ARTICLE III: Elections Executive board members shall serve a renewable term of one year. An election of the Executive Board member shall be held annually with a voting body of no fewer than 40 percent of the organizations active members. Member shall vote by secret ballot, and a simple majority of votes is required to elect and Executive Board member to office. Any officer who fails to uphold the mission of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood or fails to fulfill the duties of his or her office may be removed from office by two-thirds vote of active members.

*Use this sample constitution to write your own, following the guidelines recommended by your university. (eg. Many universities also require a standard non-discrimination article of the constitution.)


IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: University Funding Want to plan really great events? Want to make copies of fliers? Well its going to cost you. But the good news is that your university wants you to plan really great events and make fliers, so they're probably willing to help pay for it. Contact your Office of Student Affairs for information about how to apply for university funding for your activities. Most universities offer some funding to all student groups to help pay for publicity and educational activities, though some universities will not fund student groups they consider to be "political" (check your school's policy to see if non-partisan groups, such as VOX, are considered "political"). Your university may also offer additional funding for special activities, such as bringing a speaker to campus or hosting a conference. Take full advantage of these resources, and also check out alternative sources of funding such as Greek organizations, dorm councils, womens’ studies departments, and your local Planned Parenthood affiliate!

BUILDING COALITIONS You can increase the strength of your impact on reproductive rights issues by forming coalitions with like-minded student groups on campus. A coalition is a network of groups that come together to work toward a common goal or in support of an issue of mutual concern. Coalitions are generally informal and temporary, lasting for the duration of the campaign or project that they were formed to support. Coalition partners share information with each other, attend each other's meetings, and organize events and activities together, forming a "united front" in defense of issues they all care strongly about-in this case, reproductive health and rights, sexual freedom, and gender equality. Forming a coalition can enable you to achieve goals more easily and quickly and reach out to populations on campus that don't normally hear your message. Coalition building can also help create an environment in which diversity is welcomed and respected and create conditions that ensure that all members of all social identity groups participate in the promotion of reproductive rights on your campus. Building coalitions isn't always To build an effective coalition easy-it takes strong interpersonal 1. Consider the reasons for forming a coalition. Will new partners bring skills and a lot of face-to-face valuable information, resources, and contacts? Will there be any dialogue to develop and maintain disadvantages to working with them? trust. Coalitions fail when 2. Identify potential coalition partners: groups that are likely to want to work exclusivity, secrecy, struggles for on your issue and who have a membership you want to reach out to. 3. Facilitate the introduction and education of all coalition partners so power, and hurt feelings arise groups know each other's histories and priorities and are brought up to among partners. speed on the state of the issue of concern. Like-minded progressive 4. Coordinate the process of developing the coalition's goals and organizations will be the most guidelines for working together. obvious coalition partners, but don't rule out unlikely candidates before you speak with them! Surprising alliances can be formed if the issue has a broad base of popular support, and reproductive rights is one such issue. Potential coalition partners for your VOX group include Other pro-choice and feminist groups/ environmental groups/ human rights groups/ religious groups/ cultural organizations/ gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender groups/ sororities and fraternities/ college Democrats and Republicans


& Keeping Them

1. FEED them. Once you've established your VOX group, make it grow by recruiting new members. There are many ways, other than offering free food, to recruit members and also raise awareness of the threat to reproductive health and rights. One popular technique is to set up and an outreach table in a public area on campus or downtown.

WHAT'S ON THE TABLE? An outreach table should be well stocked with attention-grabbing information alerting people to the very real threats to reproductive health and rights. Don't clutter the table, though. Decide on your priority issue and message, and then choose items for the table accordingly. Your local Planned Parenthood affiliate can provide recruitment and educational materials for your outreach table. They can also provide you with action postcards or petitions in support of current local or national reproductive rights issues. Encouraging people to sign action postcards or petitions is a great way to educate them about an issue, while demonstrating to them that their involvement makes a difference. Always have lots of recruitment cards at the table. Use these to sign people onto the Planned Parenthood Action Network so they can be educated about and alerted to other reproductive rights issues in the future. Offer giveaways, such as food and VOX condoms, stickers or temporary tattoos- a great way to attract people to the table to reward them for joining VOX.

Most universities have a student Activities Fair at the beginning of the year. Set up an outreach table at the fair to recruit new members and introduce your organization to incoming freshmen.

COMMUNICATION When recruiting, always collect the names, addresses, phone numbers, social networking info & e-mail addresses of supporters and VOX members. This information is vital because it allows you to contact your members quickly and mobilize them to come to meetings and events. Keep the contact information in a database file (LIKE A GOOGLE DOCS SPREADSHEET,) update it regularly and pass it down from class to class.


IF YOU'RE CONFRONTED BY ANTI-CHOICERS Keep your cool and don't spend much time arguing with them! While you're engaged in a debate, potential pro-choice allies are passing by your table without getting a chance to connect with you. If you're really fired up to educate the opposition, channel your energies into writing a letter to the editor of your campus paper or coordinating an educational forum on campus at another time.

TABLING TIPS • Choose a busy location that gets a lot of pedestrian traffic, such as the student union or a public event. • Know the subject you're talking about. Develop and practise your main messages ahead of time so you can be clear and concise. Fact sheets are a great way to brief yourself and your members on the issue and can also be distributed at the table. They're available from your local Planned Parenthood public affairs advisor. • Table in groups of three members or more; while a couple of members speak with people, give them information, and sign them up for VOX, another member can draw more people to the table. If possible, pair more experienced VOX members with less experienced members, so they can learn from each other. • Don't be shy! Lure people to the table by calling out to them about your issue. When people approach the table, smile and engage them right away by asking, for example, "Have you heard about the global gag rule on international family planning?" or "Did you know that most health insurance programs cover Viagra but not birth control pills?" • Sign people onto the Planned Parenthood Action Network using the recruitment cards, available from your local Planned Parenthood public affairs advisor. Give completed cards to the public affairs advisor so that she or he can add the names to the Planned Parenthood Action Network. Remember to take pens and clipboards. • Make it interactive! Set up PCs or laptops with the VOX Facebook page loaded onto it so people can surf the site, sign onto VOX, or send a letter to Congress. • Be enthusiastic, friendly, and approachable. Whatever you do, don't look bored at the table! Body language means a lot! Stand up and engage people at your table. If you don't seem to care, why should anyone else? • Invite an expert, such as a Planned Parenthood staff member, to conduct outreach with you on reproductive health issues. •


Concert outreach is a powerful education and organizing tool and is also a great way to recruit new members. At concerts, Planned Parenthood staff and volunteers educate concert-goers about birth control and safer sex, inspire young people to advocate for reproductive freedom by joining VOX, offer free condoms and dental dams, sign people onto the Planned Parenthood Action Network, register new voters, and more. Planned Parenthood has conducted outreach at thousands of concerts on the tours of Ani DiFranco, Barenaked Ladies, Dave Matthews Band, HORDE Festival, Joan Osbourne, Lilith Fair, Lollapalooza, No Doubt, Phish, Santana, Sleater-Kinney, Vans Warped Tour, Woodstock '99, and more. Your VOX group can participate; contact your local Planned Parenthood public affairs director to volunteer. In addition to the national tours, there are other local opportunities for concert outreach: • Contact radio stations that host special live performances and inquire about the possibility of tabling at the show. Speak with the radio stations' promotions directors for schedules. • Consider city festivals. Your city may host a music festival, like San Diego' s three-day Street Scene or Columbus’s ComFest. Contact your local tourism and events office or chamber of commerce for schedules. • Produce your own "VOX Rocks" or "Dance for Choice" concert. Coordinating a special Planned Parenthood benefit concert can garner publicity, raise funds, and build support. The concert can be a large-scale benefit with well-known bands and celebrities, or a small show at a local club or bar. • Go clubbing. Post fliers and distribute VOX newsletters, recruitment cards, and condoms at clubs and performance spaces in your town.


SOCIAL NETWORKING & MEDIA Using social technology strategically can grow your campus group and keep your members engaged Social Networking: Connecting with a community of people in your network through services like Facebook and Twitter with various methods of online interaction.


Social Media: Online media like blogs, podcasts, videos, and news with a strong participatory element through comments, ratings, or other mechanisms. Social media is generated by the people and for the people with content created by anyone with a voice.

Guiding Principles: FACEBOOK PAGE TIPS Don’t stay in your circle – You need to get away from just interacting with your members and start interacting with people within the wider community. An easy way to do this is to “fan” like-minded pages and ask everyone to “suggest” your page to their friends. Fill out your profile (fully) – The best profile on Facebook is a complete one. This doesn’t mean you should fill out your name and contact information; it just means you need to complete all the fields available. Don’t be shy – The purpose of Facebook is to connect and interact with other members, so don’t be shy! Interact with other members by writing on their wall, commenting on pictures, asking your friends questions... Doing all these things will help others to get to know who you actually are instead of just knowing your name. Spice up your profile – Facebook Applications lets you spice up your profile by adding things that interest your group. For example, you can add a YouTube application to your profile which allows you to embed YouTube videos onto your profile for others to see. Build it, and they will NOT come – This isn’t the Field of Dreams, you actually have to market yourself on Facebook to become popular. In most cases this is done from interaction, which is talked about above, but you can also do things like adding photos and video of your group. When you do this the other people that you tagged in the photo will get emailed, thus increasing the number of people who see you on Facebook. Keep your page up-to-date – If you don’t keep your page up-to-date it will start dying down. By keeping it up-to-date it will gain more traffic and more people will get to know you.

Be Sincere: Sincerity is a critical element. Being sincere in your social communications will increase your credibility, and if you appear to be simply going through the motions, people are unlikely to waste their attention on your messages. Focus on the individuals: Participation in online communities and social media should be focused on the individuals, not the entity. A little personality and little bit of who you ARE AS A FUN STUDENT GROUP from a personal standpoint. Not all about you: Social media is a conversation, which is by definition two-way. In other words, it isn’t all about you. Participation involves listening and participating in the broader community of people. Don’t just expect people to help you; jump in and help other people in areas where you have some expertise. If all we do is preach without adding to the broader conversation, people will lose interest pretty quickly. Be a Part of the Community: Just talking at people isn’t going to cut it in this new social world where the community is critical. You should be a part of the broader community of people with similar interests both online and offline by participating in, but not trying to control the community. Engaging in conversations and when possible actually meeting those people who comment on your content, follow you on Twitter, or friend you on Facebook can go a long way toward making real, lasting connections with people. Participate (often): You don’t need to participate in everything, especially to start. As a matter of fact, we would discourage participating in too many at once. Jump in with one idea to start, try it for a while, learn and build on it. We would recommend starting with AN ACTIVE FACEBOOK PAGE. After you get a feel for what works and what doesn’t for you, pick and choose a few more that make sense for your group.


Working with the media Types of media Print - Newspapers, tabloids and magazines. Newspapers are published daily or weekly, and magazines are usually published monthly. Therefore, magazines tend to cover longer term issues and need a 3 month lead time. After an interview with print media offer to send sources for information you have quoted. This can include links to polls or research studies on your topic. Broadcast – Television and radio Broadcast is all about the sound bite. Make your answers succinct and avoid rambling. Social – Blogs, social media sites. Don’t underestimate the power of online media!

General tips to working with the media: •

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Know your local media outlets. What do they generally cover? Do they focus on investigative pieces? Do they like good human-interest stories? Or do they prefer sensationalism and gimmicks? Write a media advisory for your event. Send it the day before your event, if possible, or at least by 9 a.m. the day of the event. Know the top three messages about each event you host. For example, if tabling in the union collecting birth control access petitions your main messages are 1) college students support the president’s decision, 2) birth control access is an important issue for college students, and 3) VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood engages students on this important issue. Always assume you are on the record. Whatever you tell reporters is fair game to show up in print or as a sound bite. Answer the question—don’t dodge it—then pivot to one of your main message points if you can. Hold media events when broadcast outlets are not on the air. If they are on the air they are less likely to cover your event. Also, news outlets employ fewer reporters on weekends, so weekend events are less likely to be covered. Even if reporters come, the story may not run that night. It could run on a different day, get posted to a website, or get bumped for space altogether. News is a fickle business. At the same time be prepared for media to come even when they aren’t expected.


More than a meme it is an important lesson in organizing in a digital age.

"IF A TREE FALLS IN A FOREST AND NO ONE IS AROUND TO HEAR IT, DOES IT MAKE A SOUND?” Take pictures and videotape everything! Photos and videos are important communication tools that can be used to document and increase the impact of your events/ activities. Share your media on Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, TwitPic, etc.

Go Viral. Make Your Own Media for Change In the multimedia age, amid a bewildering multiplicity of viewpoints, how do activists get their points and perspectives across effectively? One hard-hitting solution is through social media activism. It allows anyone with a camera to tell their own story, the kind you won’t necessarily hear about on the radio, see on the evening news or read in the broadsheets or tabloids. Cameras are becoming smaller, more affordable and easier to use, while the internet simultaneously provides a means of distribution and a wide, even global audience. Power to the people Batteries, batteries, batteries... For all that recording equipment has become more advanced, more portable, more accessible and available as a range of devices, from cameras to mobile phones, the last thing you want is your hi-tech gadgetry cutting out at a vital moment. Recharge before leaving the house. Ensure you have enough memory to capture whatever you’re filming In terms of the filming itself, make sure you have enough light, that you hold the camera steady and that you get as close to your subject as possible. Use a range of shots to add texture to the final film – crowd shots for protests and demonstrations, interviews with those taking part, as documenting what's going on first-hand. Once you have good pictures and video you can use simple editing software- most computers come with either Microsoft’s Movie Maker or iMovie and for pictures you can use photoshop, gimp, iPhoto, etc. Many programs of these programs also have easy uploading features. Then Spread the Word! For tons of information/ tip on citizen media visit


Regular meetings allow VOX members to assess the direction and health of the group, plan upcoming events, learn more about reproductive rights issues and celebrate success & achievements. Meetings can be something that everyone looks forward to or they can be a chore that members dread- the key is to making them fun and productive through good planning, preparation and publicity.


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• •

If possible, hold meetings at a regularly scheduled day, time and place so that members don’t have to call around to get the meeting time and location every week. However, be flexible enough to accommodate members who have scheduled conflicts that would prevent them from coming to meetings if they were always held at the same time Try to hold the meeting at a coffee shop downtown or somewhere other than a classroom. It’s a lot easier to get inspired to go out in the evening for a meeting if it’s more like socializing and less like class. Publicity is key to any good crowd. Spread the word about your meeting by hanging flyers around campus and placing a notice in the campus paper. Call or email everyone on your list of members (the names you collected during you recruitment efforts). Use social networking!! Set an agenda and stick to it. Make a list, in order of priority, of issues you need to discuss at the meeting and how many minutes you’ll devote to each issue. However, don’t allow the meeting to run too long in order to get through the whole agenda; people like meetings that stay on schedule. Designate one person to lead the meeting and facilitate the discussion, bringing the group back to the current agenda when the conversation drifts off on a tangent. The facilitator should also make sure that everyone’s voice is being heard so that a few members don’t dominate the whole discussion. Designate one person to take notes at the meetings, recording major decisions as well as task assignments. Send the notes out your membership a few days after the meeting, to remind them of task that need to be completed (and by whom) before the next meeting. This is also the best way to update those who missed the meeting. BTW- Fun notes are fun to read and easier to remember! Set up working committees (such as publicity, fundraising, events) to figure out the finer details of planned activities so that full-membership meetings can stay focused on the big picture. Don’t spend full-membership meetings deciding what color the flyers should be. Develop a fair decision-making process. People are going to disagree about things when you’re trying to make decisions as a group. Normal differences of opinion can be managed without conflict if you have an agreed-upon system for how these differences get resolved. Parliamentary procedure is one such system. It’s a very old set of rules for decision-making that is still widely used today in modern organizations and public meetings. You can learn the rules of parliamentary procedure at the Robert’s Rules of Order website ( However, you don’t have to use Robert’s Rules – you can make your own! Adopt or develop whatever formal or informal decision-making system you find works best for your group. Rule of thumb for full-membership meetings: No more than one hour, no more than twice a month (working committees can meet as often as needed). Let them eat cake: the promise of yummy refreshments is always a good lure.


Leadership Considerations Characteristics of a Good Leader Although leadership is defined differently by many, there are a few key characteristics that are viewed by most as the qualities of a good leader. Some of these qualities are commitment, a positive attitude, passion, communication skills, honesty, competence, a strong work ethic, a sense of responsibility, and a great deal of focus. Although many of these characteristics may come more easily to some than others, they are all qualities that can be learned and perfected overtime and they are certainly qualities that make for an effective and respected leader.

Creating a Paper Trail Creating a paper trail is imperative to making your organization run smoothly and effectively. Student organizations should keep copies of all important documents in files. These include, but are not limited to, contracts, financial records, pertinent emails, copies of past publicity, and your constitution. By keeping a paper trail of everything your group is involved with you avoid running into many possible issues. Also, a paper trail allows you to always be able to back up your word with documentation. In addition, keeping a paper trail makes it so much easier for future leadership to pick up where you left off and keep your organization going strong.

Transitions Transitions are experienced by all organizations and whether or not a transition is done smoothly makes the difference between an organization surviving and thriving and an organization falling apart. Here are a few tips that can help make transitioning a very smooth process: • Create an annual report that includes information about everything your organization has done in the past year. • Pass on all of your files (they should be organized and legible). • Have a joint executive board meeting (the incoming e-board with the outgoing e-board). • Set goals (the incoming e-board should use the expertise of the outgoing e-board to set goals for the upcoming year). • Discuss the budget (past and future). • Contact your advisor if you need any guidance or support to help you through transition.



TIPS Set goals. Make a list of clear, achievable goals for the event, including how many people will attend, how much media coverage you’ll receive, and how many new VOX members you’ll recruit. •

Decide what kind of an event will best enable you to reach your goals. Several ideas are listed on the next page, but your membership can brainstorm for others, too.

Contact your local Planned Parenthood affiliate for assistance. They can help with planning, media, public relations and other support.

Make a budget. List expenses and then take stock of your group’s financial situation. You may need to seek university funding or raise funds for your event.

Make a timeline of all the tasks that need to be completed. A good event can take several weeks or several months to plan – think it through so you know how much time you’ll need to prepare. Some activities (inviting speakers, reserving lecture halls) should be done as early as possible: others (contacting the media, purchasing supplies) should be done right before the event.

Divide up the tasks among members so that everyone has a chance to contribute to the success of the event and a small number of members aren’t stuck doing all the work.

Strengthen coalitions by inviting other organizations to co-sponsor your event.

Mobilize your supporters. Call or e-mail everyone on your list of supporters (the names you collected during your recruitment efforts) and invite them to come to the event.

Invite key alumni. It’s a great way to make connections to influential people and bring them into the reproductive rights movement.

Celebrate your victories! After a successful event, give some love and appreciation to your volunteers by celebrating your achievements together.

Other ideas: Encourage VOX members at your event to wear VOX or Planned Parenthood t-shirts, buttons/ temporary tattoos… Take the event off campus- go as a group to an already planned PP event!..



• Do a film screening or festival. Show videos at a small VOX social event or organize a full-fledged film festival for the university. There are a wealth of films, documentaries, TV movies, film school projects and videos that feature or include segments on sexuality, abortion, and birth control that can be terrific film fest fodder! (Ask your Planned Parenthood advisor for some ideas.) • Coordinate a reading or discussion group on campus or in a bookstore or downtown café. Find out when relevant authors or other speakers may have engagements scheduled in your area and explore the possibility of coordinating with them to conduct a fundraising or awareness-raising event. • Coordinate an event with your university arts community. Reproductive freedom and the arts have a common connection in the issues of free speech, self-determination and expression. Are there women’s performing arts collectives – art, dance, theater, film or music – on campus? Host a “Planned Parenthood Art for Choice” event in a gallery, sculpture garden or interesting performance space. Hold a pre- or post-performance benefit reception with the artists. • Host a beer or wine-tasting (for the over-21 crowd) at a local bar, brewery or wine bar. (For tips on organizing a successful beer- or wine-tasting, contact your local Planned Parenthood public affairs advisor.) • Host a “Bagels and VOX” networking breakfast with coalition partners. Invite members of other progressive student organizations and political activists in your community to meet each other, discuss common goals, and brainstorm about how to work effectively together. • Coordinate an interfaith worship service to call for an end to clinic violence and to honor those who serve in Planned Parenthood health centers around the country. Invite pro-choice clergy from many faiths on your campus and in your community to lead prayers in commemoration of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (January 22) or on National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers (March 10). Include a screening of On Hostile Ground, a moving documentary about three abortion providers. For more information about pro-choice clergy in your area, contact your local Planned Parenthood public affairs advisor. • THON! Coordinate a write-a-thon or text-a-thon at the student union, a downtown café, or a bookstore. Advocates and customers can write letters urging local and national officials to support reproductive health and freedom. Ask local stationary stores to sponsor by donating pens, paper and envelopes. • Hold a Run, Bike, Hike, Ski or Blade for Choice around the university campus. These are fun, visible events that have fundraising potential and will be sure to attract media attention. • Invite a guest speaker and demonstrate advocacy in action. Invite an elected official to speak to your campus; your local members of Congress, state legislators, and local school board members all have some power over your reproductive choices. Allow more time for Q&A from the audience than for the speech and take 10 minutes before the official speaks to form the issues for your audience, so they can listen critically and think about questions they might want to ask. Or invite a young activist who has been successful in advocating for reproductive rights or another progressive issue: could be a VOX member from another school, a Planned Parenthood public affairs director, or an activist from other human rights organization. Ask him/her to talk about the importance of short, winnable gains, and to describe what difference his or her advocacy has made.



MAKING A NAME FOR YOURSELF ON CAMPUS The best way to increase your membership, shape your image, and raise awareness about the threats to reproductive health and rights is to be visible on campus and in your community. Your campus probably has hundreds of student organizations and thousands of events, happenings, and activities each year. It takes creativity and repetition to make your name stand out on campus and to entice people to come to your events.

Be Visible: Hang posters around campus to promote your group’s message and to announce meetings and events. Well-designed posters will have only one or two different fonts and colors and lots of “white space.” Keep the text concise: tell people what you’re doing, why, and when/where, but don’t crowd the poster with long sentences. Leaflet Blitz! Leaflets are cheap, easy-to-make sheets that announce an event or raise awareness about an issue. Leaflets can be passed out by the hundreds in just a couple of hours if your group works together and takes strategic positions in high-traffic areas, such as the student union. Another idea is to make quarter-page leaflets or “palm cards” and leave them on tables or chairs in the dining halls. Make announcements in class! Many professors will permit registered student groups to take a few minutes at the beginning of the class to announce upcoming meetings and events. You never know, they may even give extra credit for attending. Chalk/shaving cream/sidewalk stencils/stickers are your friends. Make liberal use of campus sidewalks and pathways as free advertising space. But, of course, mind university regulations that may prohibit this form of, um “art!” NOTE: YOUR UNIVERSITY MAY HAVE REGULATIONS REGARDING CAMPUS PUBLICITY, SUCH AS WHERE POSTERS MAY OR MAY NOT BE HUNG. CHECK WITH THE STUDENT ACTIVITIES OFFICE TO BE SURE. Always use the VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood name and logo on your materials. A consistent “look” is an important way to shape your image and develop name recognition. To get VOX graphics by e-mail or on disk, contact your local Planned Parenthood public affairs advisor.

Part of working with Planned Parenthood is dealing with opposition to the services we provide. Please know that you may come across people that are not pleased to hear about your involvement in the organization.

Some Tips: • • • • • •

Have a sign-in sheet for every meeting and event Listen to your intuition, when something seems fishy it probably is Get help if you are uncomfortable Don’t go it alone- Use the buddy system Don’t leave VOX/ Planned Parenthood materials out where they can be tampered with/ stolen Follow your campus security guidelines


Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio works to advocate for public policies which guarantee privacy and ensure access to comprehensive health care and family planning services.

Ohio Prevention First For more than 90 years, Planned Parenthood has helped women and families prevent unintended pregnancy and plan strong, healthy families. On May 30, 2007, the bi-partisan Ohio Prevention First Act (House Bill 251 and Senate Bill 179) was introduced in the Ohio General Assembly. This landmark legislation focuses on the prevention of unintended pregnancies through comprehensive sex education for teens including abstinence, and affordable, accessible birth control. The Ohio Prevention First Act would: • earmark existing state funds for family planning purposes; • require insurance plans that cover prescriptions to also cover birth control; • require pharmacies to fill all in-stock legal prescriptions and to dispense all over-thecounter medications; • ensure access to emergency contraception in all emergency rooms for sexual assault victims; • ensure that Ohio's state funded sexual education programs provide young people with the information they need to make safe, informed, Planned Parenthood; and • launch a teen pregnancy prevention grant program through the Ohio Department of Health to award grants to public and private entities to establish or expand programs geared toward at-risk youth.

Keeping Birth Control Affordable In harsh economic times like today, access to affordable birth control and family planning services are more important than ever. Birth control is basic health care that helps people make responsible decisions about their lives and their futures. Unfortunately for many women, reliable methods of family planning can be financially out of reach. Only by working hand-in-hand with national, state, and local leaders can we implement commonsense measures that will prevent unintended pregnancy. VICTORY!! In the spring of 2008, we worked with Congress and the White House to take the first steps toward making birth control more affordable. Thanks to activists like you, a no-cost measure now makes it possible for some health centers across the country to dispense low-cost birth control to women who need it most. That's just the first step. Planned Parenthood is committed to ensuring that no woman has to wonder how she'll afford her next birth control prescription. Here are just a few of the issues we're currently working on. • Expanding Coverage of Medicaid-Funded Family Planning Services • Increasing/protecting Funding for Title X- Family Planning Program • Expanding Access to 340B Drug Pricing Program • Ensuring Insurance Coverage for Birth Control • Increasing Access to Emergency Contraception


Ensuring Health Care Access There is no doubt that the United States is facing a health care crisis of historic proportions. Nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured and an additional 25 million have insurance but lack sufficient access to services. Ensuring access to health care is a long process, and Planned Parenthood will not rest until we come to a solution. Treating acute illness and emergency situations is not enough — there must be a renewed focus on preventive health care. Many women, including many Planned Parenthood clients, rely on their reproductive health care provider as their primary source of health care. Issues we are working on include: • GYT (Get Yourself Tested) • Health Care Reform: Women’s Health Matters • Planned Parenthood is an Essential Community Provider • Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies

Expanding Global Reproductive Rights When women have control of their reproductive health, it improves the overall health and economic well-being of their entire communities. Worldwide, women face the risks of unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and sexually transmitted infection every day. Limited access to health services, legal restrictions, cultural taboos, and harsh gender inequality are just some of the reasons why every minute of every day a woman dies from a pregnancy-related cause. The health and safety of women and men around the world must be protected. By increasing access to reproductive health services we can improve gender equality, maternal health, and child survival, allowing women to take control of their lives. The PPFA International Program partners with local organizations in 17 countries around the world to expand services and pioneer efforts to improve reproductive health and rights. By accepting only private funding, we have the flexibility to carry out truly cutting-edge work. Planned Parenthood works in Washington to change foreign health policy as well. Just days after taking office, President Obama rescinded the global gag rule, recognizing that women's health truly matters worldwide. Significant challenges still remain. We must ensure that women have access to affordable care and the information they need to lead healthy and fulfilled lives. Here are some of the ways Planned Parenthood is working worldwide to protect women's health: • Advocating for Safe Abortion Around the World. • Ensuring Birth Control Access Globally • Enacting Responsible Foreign Health Policies • Preventing HIV & Other STIs Worldwide

Fighting for REAL Sex-Ed About 750,000 teenagers in the United States will become pregnant this year alone and half of all sexually active people will have a sexually transmitted infection by age 25. Clearly, American teens need information to make responsible decisions and stay healthy. The best way to give them those tools is by providing comprehensive, medically accurate, ageappropriate sex education. Planned Parenthood is committed to bringing real sex education back to America's schools, and rejecting failed abstinence-only programs. We address: • Comprehensive Sex Ed • Abstinence-Only Programs • The State of Teen Health


Opposing Attacks on Women’s Health Women must be able to access health care without fear of violence, harassment, or intimidation. Young people must be able to get accurate information about their health and how to protect it. And women, men, and teens must able to make their own decisions about their health and their futures without government intrusion. Anti-choice extremists do everything they can to prevent women and men from taking charge of their lives. If these radicals truly were concerned about women and families, they would work with Planned Parenthood to reduce unintended pregnancy in the first place by doing the only thing that works — increasing access to affordable birth control and comprehensive sex education. Planned Parenthood fights anti-choice extremism on every level. Unfortunately, anti-choice extremists continue their attacks on Planned Parenthood and the people we serve. Join us to fight: • Anti-Choice Actions & Clinic Violence • Anti-Choice Legislation

Picture This: The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. A woman’s right to choose is no longer guaranteed by the Constitution. Across the U.S., the state legislatures have passed laws outlawing abortion. Abortion providers have closed their doors. Women needing abortions are forced to seek doctors who will perform them illegally, often in unsafe or unsanitary conditions, risking both prosecution and their lives…

This scenario is not as unlikely as you might think. The future of reproductive rights hangs in a delicate balance. State and federal legislators have the power to enact laws that determine access to family planning services, and the U.S. president may have the opportunity to appoint as many as three new Supreme Court justices with the power to affirm or overturn the right of women to choose legal abortion. Planned Parenthood is working hard to make sure that young people’s voice are heard on these issues so that our rights are protected and this vision of the future doesn’t become a reality. Read on to find out how you can get involved.


HOW WE WON OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE The right to choose refers to much more than just abortion rights. It is the right to decide if and when to have a child, the right to have access to services that promote reproductive health and prevent unintended pregnancy, the right to accurate, comprehensive information, and the right to set and achieve your plans for the future. Until 1965, contraceptives were illegal. That year the Supreme Court, the highest court in the U.S., ruled that the Constitution contains a “right to privacy” that protects the decisions of married couples to use contraceptives (Grisworld v. Connecticut). In 1972, the Supreme Court extended the same right to privacy to protect the right of unmarried people to obtain contraceptives (Eisenstadt v. Baird). Until 1973, 31 states banned abortion. In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy also protects the right of a woman, in consultation with her physician, to have an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy --- before fetal viability – free from government interference. Even at the point of viability (when the fetus is deemed to have the capacity for sustained survival outside the uterus) the Supreme Court ruled that a pregnant woman’s life and health take precedence over the fetus.


PROTECTING OUR RIGHTS : It is up to EACH OF US! Reproductive rights are threatened, but you can help protect your right to choose by contacting your legislators and telling them that reproductive health and freedom are important to you and other young Americans. Elected officials are eager to know which issues concern their constituents, those whose interests they represent. Constituents can communicate their concerns to elected officials by lobbying them. To lobby is to discuss an issue with a legislator with the intention of influencing the way he or she votes on the issue. When you lobby, you communicate to the legislator that reproductive rights are important to you and must be protected.

Who represents you? Find your elected officials Know your legislators’ voting records on reproductive rights issues. This information can be found on Thomas, a service of the Library of Congress. ( Also keep informed about specific reproductive health/ rights issues nationally at the Planned Parenthood Action Center or in Ohio at

Ad•vo•cate 1: v. to speak in favor of, 2: n. one who argues for a cause. Nationwide, VOX members serve as advocates for reproductive freedom. Advocacy is important because it is the way we communicate to our elected officials that reproductive rights are important to us and must be protected. YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT!

For More Information Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio Institute for Research and Education 206 East State Street Columbus, Ohio 43215 Phone (614) 224-0761 Fax (614) 224-2420 Also on Facebook and Twitter!


Ohio Vox Training Manual  

2012 Edition of Vox Leaders Training Manual

Ohio Vox Training Manual  

2012 Edition of Vox Leaders Training Manual