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Diaper Advocacy For RDA Business Members
By Brenda Wells
Fall 2005

Fellow RDA Business Members, we are in an excellent position to spread the word to people interested in all the advantages cloth diapers!

When I joined RDA, I thought it was a wonderful idea to provide a copy of one of the pamphlets provided on the RDA web site to every customer. I soon realized that the cost might be excessive. I remember that, when I first started out, every penny counted to keep the business going. A new business may not have anything available for extra printing. I gave up trying to maintain sending one out with every order, but still keep enough on hand to spread the word locally.

There are many other things that we, as business owners, can do which will reach every new mom who enters the cloth diapering community through us. These will not cost anything.

1. Have information about the RDA on your web site. I chose to have an entire page which gives a brief explanation of who the RDA is, urges customers to visit the site, urges them to sign up for the newsletter, and encourages them to visit the forums to find others in their area. This fit the way my site was constructed. Other businesses may find it easier to simply add a few lines about the RDA on already existing pages. We all have pages detailing how to care for diapers and many of us have portions of our web sites dedicated to environmental benefits. A link to the RDA's "Real Diaper Facts" and "Cloth Diapering in the News" fits perfectly on diaper care or environmental benefits pages.

In addition, the more links our sites contain for the RDA, the higher the RDA site will climb in Google and other search engine rankings when someone is searching for cloth diaper information.

2. Add a statement about RDA to your order confirmation. Most of us have pages that pop up after an order has been placed. It states something like, "Thank you for your order." I asked my webmaster to add the following below the text confirming that an order went through: "Now that you've joined the cloth diapering community, consider joining the Real Diaper Association! (". This message costs nothing yet reaches every customer.

3. Add a statement about RDA on your invoice. You probably are already sending an invoice, an informational page on how to care for diapers, or both, along with each order. Consider placing a line at the bottom of the invoice directing customers, yet again, to RDA. If you're already printing an invoice with each order, this will add no additional cost.

4. Add RDA to your email signature. Most of us have email programs that provide a signature block to be added at the bottom of each email. Consider adding a signature like: "Be a cloth diaper advocate in your area - join the Real Diaper Association." I rotate my signatures every month or so. Sometimes my signature includes RDA; sometimes it's different. But this is one more way to provide cost-free RDA exposure to my customers or people who write for information.

Those are the cost-free things we can do to help the RDA grow. There are other actions I recommend you to plan for as your business grows.

1. Give gift memberships. Perhaps you can give away one gift membership per month or per year. So far, I have done this only once, for a mom who is slowly working toward becoming a Circle Leader. By offering gift memberships to long-distance customers, who feel that they would like to advocate cloth diapers in their area, we can spread our influence beyond our own localities.

2. Ten percent. I was inspired by a man (as well as by companies like Ben & Jerry's and Stonyfield Farms) who changed many lives by vowing to donate ten percent of his profits to others. I decided that I was at a point (i.e., out of debt!) where I could donate ten percent as well. Frankly, ten percent of my business isn't that much; but it's something. And while most of my donations go to Doctors without Borders, I have earmarked a certain amount for local RDA-based advocacy activities, such as paying for the printing of RDA materials given away during our town's Earth Day festival.

Every little bit helps. If we all take action to promote Real Diaper Association, we can help the RDA grow much more quickly. A bigger RDA means more cloth diapering advocacy and education. That is something all of us want.

Brenda Wells opened Sunshine Diapers in Florida five years ago,
between the births of her two sons. She trained "cast members" in
environmental and animal issues at Disney before finding motherhood.
This business is a natural marriage of the two careers.

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