Introducing CBLDF’s Education & Outreach Initiative

July 20, 2010
By

By Betsy Rosenblatt

As an advocacy group, the CBLDF spends most of its time handling emergencies when they come in: a creator, retailer, library, or reader gets threatened, arrested, or sued, and the CBLDF goes to work, helping with legal arguments and litigation costs. But what if someone is prosecuted and doesn’t know about the CBLDF before it’s too late—they’ve lost a case, settled for a lot of money, or—even more frightening—gone to jail. We can’t help unless people know about us, know their rights, and know how to protect themselves. So what we want to do now, as Executive Director Charles Brownstein said, is to “harness the energy that we use for fighting a case to make tools that help prevent future battles from occurring.”

How do we do that? Every time the CBLDF goes on the road (and sometimes even when we don’t), we hear “what can I do to help”? Until recently, the answer typically was “donate money.” That hasn’t changed—we still need money!—but lately, the CBLDF has been looking into other ways that people can pitch in, too. We’re in the process of building information resources (to be available on the CBLDF website and in hard copy for distribution at conventions and other live events) that will give people ideas for how they can get involved. We are looking for your help in building these resources.

So—how can you help? Here are a few ideas:

* Apply to be part of the CBLDF’s Advisory Legal Committee or Advisory Library Committee. The CBLDF is particularly interested in getting the word out to lawyers and librarians. These two committees will help the CBLDF reach out to the legal and library communities by writing informational materials, responding to queries, spreading the word, and helping to plan events. If you are interested in being a part of either committee, send an e-mail to outreach@CBLDF.org with information on why you should be put on the committee, including your name, contact information, qualifications, relevant experience, and ideas for what you’d do to help.

* Host a CBLDF party. Invite your friends and be creative! Swap comic books, serve comics-related food or beverages have a raffle or auction to raise money for the CBLDF . . . the possibilities are endless. For larger-scale events, the CBLDF may be able to send someone to speak. For events of any size, the CBLDF is working on materials including a “How to Host a CBLDF Party” information sheet on how to get information from the CBLDF, how to plan an event, and how to send us the proceeds.

* Host or attend a CBLDF information session The CBLDF is interested in training people to do presentations about the CBLDF and our First Amendment work. If you are interested in being such a person—or holding a training session—let us know at outreach@CBLDF.org.

* Make the CBLDF the beneficiary of your eBay auctions, and shop CBLDF on eBay. When you set up an eBay auction, you can give 10% to 100% of the final auction value to the Fund by using eBay Giving Works. The CBLDF has been a recognized charity on eBay since 2007, our nonprofit ID is 19329. Not only will the sale benefit the CBLDF, but also your auction may be featured on the CBLDF website, which will draw more potential bidders. Information, instructions, and shopping links to all CBLDF auctions are available at http://bit.ly/givingworks

* Social Network the CBLDF. Link to CBLDF in your blog. Profess your “like” for the CBLDF on Facebook (where you can also find CBLDF-related Facebook posts and events). Tweet about the CBLDF and follow @cbldf on Twitter.

* Select the CBLDF as the benecifiary of a charitable wedding. The I Do Foundation allows marrying couples and their guests to make wedding-related purchases that generate donations for the CBLDF or to make donations in lieu of gifts. Of course, weddings aren’t the only opportunities for planned giving—for more information on bequests, gifts of stock, and other sorts of planned giving to the CBLDF, contact CBLDF Development Manager Cheyenne Allott at cheyenne.allott@CBLDF.org.

Do you have an education or outreach idea of your own that you think we should add to the list? Let us know at outreach@CBLDF.org.