If you’ve done your planning, you will know who you want to connect with your group. Now the challenge is how to connect. Consider:
How could we reach them where they are… Are they in cyberspace? In hospital? Connected to a place? Listening to the radio? On the train?
Who would be able to tell them about us… A GP? A school? A methadone clinic? A real estate office?
The next challenge is to make sure that your group is easy to enter and safe to belong. Talk about what that means with your group. Some places can be triggers for people – hospitals, churches, schools – make sure your people feel safe and welcome. It is estimated that it can take someone 4-8 attempts to join something new.
Ideas from our groups are:
- Let people know they can bring a friend for their first meeting.
- Have an Open Day where people know they will not be the only new person.
- Have an event that relates to your issue.
- Go out to talk to people at a stall or event in the community eg. school fete, pub trivia night, multicultural festival, the Ekka (join forces with other groups if it’s a big one).
- Tell one or two stories of group members (we go first so someone else doesn’t have to).
None of our groups have found a facebook boost effective. If you are in this space, it is more effective to engage with and share posts from like-minded organisations and people. Try to share three times as often as you post yourself.
Even though your group might be really important with tons of potential members, it can take a lot of work to connect with others.
Our suggestions are:
- Get listed with Self Help Queensland and on as many community directories as possible.
- Make sure that every variation of the name of your issue is contained in your website, facebook, directory listing. This is particularly important if the name of your group doesn’t contain this word. You might want a catchy name, but it is a search problem. No-one is ever as well-known as they think.
- Depending upon the health issue and the geography of your group, meet with your local Councillor, State or Federal member. Make sure they know your story. (AND… don’t ask for money the first time you meet them).