Sacramento Area Rainbow Families
THE BURNING QUESTION
How can a small, regional affinity group, with limited resources and a narrow core audience, increase its reputation, upgrade its standing in the regional discussion, and become a leader in the greater community?
Being a parent is hard work. The job is even tougher for members of the LGBTQ+ community, who must wage a constant fight against discrimination, intolerance, and injustice just to face the same challenges as their straight peers. Sacramento Area Rainbow Families was born out of a desire to draw LGBTQ+ parents (and prospective parents) together to share play dates, resources, advocacy opportunities, educational activities, and workshops in the Sacramento region. The group provides safe spaces, both in person and online, for LGBTQ+ families to connect, share support, and build community.
In recent years, thanks to social media tools and online communities, affinity groups representing LGBTQ+ families have become easier to organize and promote, with lower costs and fewer barriers to entry than ever before. Like any other affinity group, the success or failure of these communities depends on the participation and investment of its members. The idea that “if you build it, they will come,” might work fine in the movies, but it doesn’t apply in the real world. In reality, building a thriving social organization requires leadership, advertising, and extensive volunteer efforts. Additionally, moving from a purely social organization to a recognized thought-leader and advocacy group takes strategy and planning. With that in mind, Sacramento Area Rainbow Families set out to upgrade its organizational profile and increase its visibility at the national level.
THE SNYDER STRATEGY
When Bethany Snyder, the founder of Snyder Strategies, moved to the Sacramento area with her family, she sought out queer social groups to meet other LGBTQ families and kids. She found a small, inactive group on Facebook and reached out to the leader to see if they wanted help. The exasperated leader jumped at the opportunity to have Bethany at the helm of the organization. In just a few short years, Bethany grew the organization from fewer than 100 members to more than 800 families that held monthly play dates and provided resources and support for each other.
Additionally, as its profile rose, civic, community, and government organizations such as the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento Children’s Museum, California Department of Education, Sierra College, The Sacramento LGBT Community Center, the Landing Spot, Equality California, The California Endowment, and the Stonewall Foundation of Greater Sacramento asked to partner with Sacramento Area Rainbow Families. A tribute to her leadership, the organization continues to thrive even as Bethany and her family moved out of the area.
DON’T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT
“Before Bethany led our group, Sacramento Area Rainbow Families was struggling to attract members, engage our community, and partner with other community organizations. Through her dedication, vision, and drive, Bethany put our group on the map. She expanded our group to include more families, created strategic partnerships with community organizations, planned meaningful and successful events, and even raised funds so all families could participate.”
— Dharia McGrew, member and mom.