Looking to grow your group's membership or to start a whole new group? Here are a few things that will help you find and recruit members.
You might actually find that the hardest thing is not getting people to turn up – it is getting them to stay. Feel free to have a look at our ‘How to maintain involvement’ guide for more information on this.
Build your mailing lists
This is essential to being able to regularly contact local supporters, let them know what is going on, invite them to your actions, and gradually involve them. You want your mailing lists to be up-to-date, and you always want to be adding to it.
- Make sure to capture people’s contact information at your actions, events and stalls so that you can keep in touch with them and keep them up to date.
- Maintaining and promoting a good social media presence can also help with this. See our ‘How to work with social media’ training guide.
- In the future, your wild card will be online petitions. At moment, if you use platforms like 350, Move On or Avaaz, you don’t get to keep the contact details of people who sign your petitions. But Friends of the Earth is working to change this. We hope to be able to role out a platform that will allow you to retain the contact details of people who sign your local petitions. This will be a powerful ally in your quest grow your mailing lists. We will update this section when this tool is ready.
Promote yourself (talk to your supporters)
It is no use having people’s contact details if you do not use them (appropriately, of course). Always make sure to promote what you are doing.
- Promote all events, actions, activities and meetings. Send people an email, send around a newsletter, put it up on social media and/or advertise it in the local paper. Using social media is a particular easy way to do this – check out our ‘How to work with social media’ guidance for some top tips on using Facebook and Twitter.
- Ensure your online profile is up to date. Make it easy for people to find you, to know what you are about, to know what events and actions you have planned. This makes it easy for them to get involved. Part of this is having a regular series of events and actions planned.
Organise a regular schedule of events and actions
Have a regular series of things for people to get involved with (you can collaborate with other groups on these). That way, you are creating opportunities to talk to people, get their contact details and involve them.
When you organise events or actions, talk to people and always invite interested people to get involved with you on a longer term basis. Expressly invite them to your next meetings, let them know if you have any upcoming actions, and most importantly – get their contact details. Also ask them what they are interested in and how they might like to get involved. Don’t expect them to conform to you, ask them what skills they have, what ideas they have, what really gets them going (and then encourage them to bring this to your group if you find your interests, goals and aims align).
If someone declines to join your group (or you get the feeling they are unsure), take a step backwards and ask them if they would just like to join your mailing list and be kept informed of events and local updates. Let them know they are always welcome to get more involved if they would like to, but do not pressure them!
Community mapping is a very useful Organising tool that helps you gain a better picture of who know and who you don’t know. It can help decide on who you might approach to ask to be a part of your group. Please see our ‘How to find allies to work with’ guide for more details.
- Keep your Local Group’s website and Facebook account up to date with correct contact information and meeting times and dates. You wouldn't want interested people turn up to meetings only to discover that no one is there.
- Always try to have at least 2 or 3 events / actions in the diary so that you can invite people from one action to the next action.
- Always ask people who say that they are coming to bring two friends along with them.
- Try to have your Local Group meetings regularly planned in a consistent location so that people can easily find you if they want to get involved. Preferably this location would be agreeable to people from a broad range of backgrounds and cultures, i.e. not a pub.
- Keep all your dates and locations of any events up-to-date and promote them on social media and in various other ways (posters, newspapers, word of mouth, etc) in your local area.
- If you and none of your group use or want to use social media, make a special point of advertising the role of a ‘social media manger’ in your communities. Think of who you might know who is great on social media and invite them and promote the role in any communications you send out.
- The above tactic can be used for any skill / position you feel you are lacking – turn your weakness into a targeted recruitment drive. Use Community Mapping to determine what these weakness might be.