Having a continuous visual presence lets your community members know that your work is ongoing and shows commitment to the issue. Keeping the issue in the forefront of an individual’s mind with banners or billboards can also help raise awareness, educate your community, and gain new supporters.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement


  1. Choose your message (aim for less than 8 words for billboards).
  2. Brainstorm and obtain visuals—consider computer graphics, artwork, or photography.
    1. Consider a local contest for your design.
    2. Work with local artists.
  3. Secure a location to display your banner or billboard.
  4. Display your work!

Materials needed

  • High resolution image from a photographer
  • Printer and designer
  • Company to install billboards


  • It can be common to default to negative or scary messages/images (e.g. “1 in 6 kids will die from smoking if we don’t make a change”). Challenge yourself to keep the majority of your messages positive and encouraging (e.g. “Love yourself. Respect your family. Quit TODAY!”).
  • Contact other programs with billboards in your area to cost-share the travel expense for billboard installers.
  • Since banners are portable, change locations to hang them periodically to reach a new audience (e.g. schools, tribal buildings, clinics, or fitness centers).
  • Listen to what your community’s concerns and interest areas are. Customize banners or billboards that address those ideas.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

Čaŋlí Coalition members frequently got asked, “Why are you working so hard to address tobacco, when alcohol, drugs, and suicide are affecting more people?” Our members shared this concern about other threats to our tribal community, but used data and a banner to show the reality of how huge the tobacco problem is.

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… used images, values, and messages familiar to Lakota people (e.g. Tiwahe is Lakota for family, and the shell as an ashtray is commonly seen in our community).

billboard that says, "Protect the Tiwahe. Be tobacco-free. The Canli Coalition. Making CRST smoke-free."
banner that says, "Children are sacred. Protect their lungs from secondhand smoke!"