The following templates may be downloaded and edited to reflect your organization’s specific information.
Please make sure to maintain the integrity of the Purple Light Nights® name and logo on all documents signifying the Federal trademark. Note that the size and font may be altered as needed. The Covington Domestic Violence Task Force would also request that you acknowledge our work as the creators of this campaign in your advertising and marketing.
Once you make the decision to participate in the Purple Light Nights® campaign, you will be limited only by your creativity and imagination. You can check out the video of our first annual Tree Lighting Kick Off event from October, 2010 on our YouTube channel for inspiration.
The CDVTF had no idea how fast the campaign would grow when they were initializing it in 2007, how much media attention it would receive, and how many family members of domestic violence victims would be deeply touched by it.
Preparing for the Campaign
To prepare for the event, we have developed the following narrative about each aspect of the campaign. We hope that we can help you on the journey ahead by sharing what we learned about the following:
Plan a Timeline
Although our task force began preparing one year before the event, we have paved the way for your group to start an event as late as September. First, decide what type of event you want to have: Do you want to target the residents and promote the individual lights? Do you want to target the business community to sponsor a tree lighting or simply ask businesses to put a string of purple lights in their front window? Do you want to incorporate purple lights at a special vigil or light one tree in your downtown?
We recommend beginning with one or two smaller projects rather than take on all aspects of the event. Each year as the event grows, you can add another dimension to your work plan.
Next, make a list of service groups, other agencies, or community members that you believe would help you promote the event.
As soon as possible, prepare your documents for advertising. These include press releases, handouts, flyers, and posters.
If you decide to sell individual lights or string lights, order early. We have several companies listed in the Vendors section that we have used or you may work with your local hardware or lighting store.
Products and Lighting Options
The individual light bulbs we used were actually what are known as “black lights.” When a black light is lit, they are a deep purple color. It is imperative to order at least 60 or 75-watt bulbs, nothing less. These lights do not put out a lot of bright light, so for those who were concerned about lighting their front porch, we encouraged them to put the black light in a front window.
For most folks, these worked just fine on the front porch. Another alternative is to add a string of purple lights around the window or front door.
Please refer to the Vendors page where we have listed several vendors we have used and continue to work with in case you are having difficulty finding the right light. You may call and ask any of these vendors for the Purple Light Nights® price if you are a nonprofit or plan to order at least one case.
A Special Note About the New Regulations for Incandescent Bulbs
We all know they are phasing out incandescent bulbs, so we’ve had a lot of questions about how this will affect Purple Light Nights®. Although they are not producing incandescent bulbs that are over 40 watts, there is an exception for any colored light such as the black light bulb. This means they WILL continue to sell 65 or 75-watt black lights for use on this event.
You may also contact any local lighting company or conduct your own search on the internet. Our greatest concern with string lighting is finding a true purple color. Most mini lights are pinker than purple. We found that the light style we ordered from both Creative Displays and DiJulio Displays, Inc. had a true purple color. Since October is also breast cancer month, we did not want to be confused with their color of pink.
We began with 200 lights on our first year and soon realized that was not enough. Eventually, we ordered 800 and sold about 500 light bulbs. Some companies may take as long as two to three weeks to receive your shipment, so make sure you always have some in stock.
Options for Lighting
There are at least three options for lighting projects:
The CDVTF made the decision to concentrate our first year on only one area to create a successful campaign with the manpower we had. We cautioned not to take on too much the first year, putting our efforts into the single light bulb sales for residents of our city. The task force did donate string lights for four street trees around City Hall. This drew a lot of interest from the community.
In 2008, we targeted businesses to sponsor a street tree with purple lights for $100. We placed a recognition sign at the base of each tree with the business name on one side and either a victim’s name or statistics about domestic violence on the other. People took the time to stop and read the signs as they shopped and learned many facts about domestic violence.
We have included a sample letter to businesses to sponsor a street tree as well as a sample recognition sign and order form with the letter.
We have included a template to be used as a label wrap around the single light package. There are two labels per sheet for printing and the document is in Word so that you can edit the information to include your specific agency information or price.
PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE OR ALTER THE PURPLE LIGHT NIGHTS® LOGO OR NAME from the label as you edit. The purpose is to unify the campaign in order to be recognizable everywhere. The logo and name are approved Federal trademarks of the Covington Domestic Violence Task Force used to promote domestic violence awareness.
If you choose to use this as a fundraiser, you may set your own price based on your costs and what your community is willing to pay. We were able to order the lights for $1.28 each, so by selling the lights for $3 or two for $5, we made a small profit. This is your choice. Several groups in the area also purchased 50 or 100 lights directly from us to give away. We have a local Native American Tribal Council that ordered large quantities so that they could give lights to women involved in their healing circle. The faith-based community also ordered 100 lights for the youth groups to sell at their mass or service.
The selling price for string lights used for street trees or business windows also depends on the purchase price. Our suggested sponsorship prices are as follows:
Promoting in Your Community
Your best supporters often come from service groups as listed below. Call and ask to give a brief presentation to each service group. Print flyers and posters advertising the Purple Light Nights® sale. (Several downloadable templates are available in this section). Take the posters and flyers to:
Promoting to the Media
Contact your local:
We are fortunate to work for a city and have the support of our city council. The first step we would recommend is to contact your city and ask the public information officer or city clerk to run a press release about the campaign. (Please refer to the Press Release template in this section.) These forms may be copied for use. There is no cost involved since it is a community awareness announcement. Your city may also have a Facebook account where the event can be announced.
Secondly, we contacted the newspaper reporters in our area and told them about the campaign. Typically, a press release announcement goes to the media, so they will already have received word. As a survivor, we shared our story and why Purple Light Nights® was important to us. We asked them to do a feature story and they were happy to do that and include photos.
The next step: We mailed purple lights to our favorite radio station DJs and talk radio hosts with a letter of explanation. Each of them contacted us with interest to do a live radio interview about Purple Light Nights®. They were very receptive to talking about domestic violence statistics and how they could promote the campaign. One radio station even put a link on their website redirecting to us.
After the press release, newspaper articles, and some radio interviews, the TV stations picked up on the campaign and called us to do a 90-second news report on the 11:00 PM news. The reporter did an excellent job of interviewing us while relaying the proper message to listeners about the needs of victims and the cycle of abuse.
Reasons That Purple Light Nights® Works
Domestic violence is a difficult subject to talk about, and it is even more difficult to get the community involved in domestic violence issues. It is a heavy subject and many people shy away from talking about or doing anything about it. Others are in denial.
We believe that Purple Light Nights® will bring to light the dark shame of domestic abuse. It’s easy, inexpensive, and even fun to put in a light bulb so that everyone can participate. Most people lead very busy lives and cannot volunteer their time, but they can buy a light bulb and put it on their front porch to support this issue.
Remembering Those Who Lost Their Lives to Domestic Violence
You can shine a light ALL month long to honor their memory and bring attention to the issue of abuse. We are aware that it may be confused with Halloween, which is why it is important to begin the campaign on October 1st and get the message out early.
Getting the Word Out
The purple lights are conversation starters. Neighbors will ask why you have the purple light on. This opens the door to talking about domestic violence. Use this as an opportunity to educate your community. Incorporate fact sheets of statistics about your city from your police department.
We want to acknowledge the courageous spirit of those victims who are now free from their abusers.
Giving Hope to Those Still Living With Abuse
In the midst of our first campaign, we received an email from three grieving parents. Each lost their daughter to an abuser and even though it had been years for some of them, the pain was still real and hurtful. These parents took the time to say, “Thank you Washington for NOT forgetting my daughter.” They became involved in Purple Light Nights®, with one mother starting her own campaign in the state of Oregon.