This is it. The big one. The highlight of every pro-life group’s year. THE. MARCH. FOR. LIFE. *audience goes wild*
But seriously, the March for Life is a big undertaking that involves a lot of preparation and planning to ensure it goes off without a hitch. But that doesn’t mean it’s an insurmountable challenge. Every group or pro-life individual is capable of making it to the March one way or another, even with financial or transportation issues. The pro-life community is huge, we have resources, and where there’s a will there’s a way.
If you and your group are ready to take the plunge and plan a trip to D.C. for the National March, check out our March for Life Planning Guide!
- Get commitments from your group members.
- The March for Life requires waivers from participants and your school will have its own form requirements as well. If possible, get your interested members to fill these out at a meeting and collect them right away.
- Pro Tip: Collecting a fee even as small as $5 or $10 from attendees helps keep them “bought in” to the experience and discourages drop-outs/no-shows, as well as mitigating the cost of the trip.
- Attend the SFLA Planning Webinar.
- We want to personally walk you through how to plan a great trip on a student budget. Register in advance HERE.
- Create an itinerary.
- Whether you’re going straight there and back (driving overnight) or sticking around for sightseeing and/or the SFLA National Conference (yeah – don’t miss that), you need a schedule.
- Your school, members, and transportation agency will all want a copy.
- Pro Tip: Allow extra time for everything, especially if you have a big group.
- Reserve your transportation. The type will depend on the number of attendees.
- Driving yourselves? Arrange the vehicle, driving schedule, and cost.
- Taking a school vehicle? Ensure proper forms are filled out and training completed.
- Taking a charter bus? Reserve it IMMEDIATELY. Basically the entire charter bus industry is booked by March for Lifers and the later you wait, the more likely it is that there will be no busses available (or they’ll be super expensive).
- Are you using the Metro in DC? Get your Metro Cards in advance and familiarize yourself with your route.
- Get your total cost and gather the funds.
- Most colleges have allotments for student groups. You can use your group’s allotted funds, or maybe even apply for a special grant. Ask your Student Involvement office for more information.
- Students for Life has a lot of fundraising ideas! Check them out or ask your RC for help.
- If you’re going with a church/diocesan group, check out SFLA’s Church Grant.
- Get your SFLA Conference tickets.
- This conference is made just for you. It’s a traditional part of the March for Life experience for hundreds of pro-life student groups nationwide.
- There are sales on tickets periodically leading up to the March for Life. Talk to your RC for more information!
- Let your teachers know when you’ll be gone.
- Many schools will allow the March as an excused absence. If they don’t and you feel this is unjust in any way (i.e. other groups were excused for a similar event), contact your RC.
- If your school does not excuse your absence, discern whether this will be excessively detrimental to your studies. Sacrificing a small penalty for the cause is noble, but if the price is high for missing classes, consider attending a local event.
- Get your members hyped!
- …but also remind them that this is a somber experience as well. Pre-March is a great opportunity to review the history of Roe v. Wade and do some formation to remind attendees that this is a pilgrimage as well as an enjoyable social event.
- If you have first time attendees, have a meeting where you explain what the March is and what to expect.
- Pack wisely.
- The March is always in January, which means it is cold on average, but that’s not a guarantee. Last year’s March, we saw plenty of people who were comfortable in t-shirts.
- Check the weather as the event approaches and pack accordingly. Spread the word to your group members with your packing advice.
- Make sure everyone has the trip leader’s cell number.
- If anyone gets lost, they need to have a way to find their way back. D.C. during the March can be hectic and confusing. Don’t skip this step!
- Document your trip!
- Take plenty of pictures and video to post on your group’s social media. This helps group members who couldn’t attend feel connected, shows your community that your group is active, and gives you content to show at interest meetings when recruiting new members.
There you have it – a basic guide for planning your March for Life trip! There are a ton of variables that come with this journey, so if you’re a first-time March planner, don’t panic if you run into an obstacle not mentioned here. Ask your local pro-life contacts and SFLA RC for as much help as you need. Additionally, if you have anything keeping you from making it to D.C., please let us know and we’ll do everything we can to help get you there. See you soon!