Recruit people to your cause
Recruitment is important for any organisation to thrive. But when you’re relying on people donating their time and energy, getting support from the right people is essential.
Recruit well from the start, and continue recruiting to get new ideas and keep in touch with what people are really thinking about.
What’s your message?
The core members of your group need to get together and figure out the key things that you are trying to tell people about your issue. Ask yourself:
- Are you recruiting for a specific event or campaign?
- Are you generally looking for more members in your group?
- Would this message inspire me to take some action?
Who are you looking for?
You can spread a wide net to recruit general support, but you may be looking for specific skills or experience. Think about where you’d find them and what they need to know.
What’s your plan?
Plan in advance how your group will divide up the tasks for your recruitment activities. Make sure that everyone is clear on what they need to do, and happy with their workload. For more help with planning, visit our Make a plan page in this section.
What’s your deadline?
Work out a timeframe and try to stick to it. There may be things that need to be done over the long-term, and other tasks that will all happen around a particular event.
Recruit with posters, flyers and brochures
Posters and flyers are usually about a particular event or campaign. Use an eye-catching and bold design to catch attention. Before you put up a poster, check if there are rules about where they can go and if you need approval. Also ask at local cafes, community centres and shops about leaving flyers or putting a poster on their noticeboard.
Fact sheets or brochures have more room for text than a poster, so you can also provide some general information on your group and what projects you are currently working on. Make sure you include details about how to contact or join your group.
An email list keeps all your email contacts in one place. Sending a group email is an easy way to keep people up-to-date and it gives you a chance to explain things in greater detail. Remember that people get lots of emails everyday. Don’t hassle them all the time, and make sure your email is clear and to the point.
Social networking, like Facebook or MySpace, is a popular way to draw attention to a cause using a website with lots of members. Get people to sign up to attend an event or support your group.
Visit our Gather support online page for more information about email, social networking and viral marketing.
Recruit in person
‘Tabling’ means setting up a table and a banner in a specific place at your school or uni. For example, in a courtyard or the foyer of a building. You either approach people directly or they come up to your table to sign a petition, collect brochures or just have a chat. It’s a great way to develop a contact list (including names, telephone numbers, email addresses) of interested people. Make sure you tell them what happens to their contact details, and always respect their privacy.
Class announcements are short presentations given at the start or end of a class. Most teachers, tutors or lecturers will let you talk for a few minutes, but make sure you keep it snappy. Point people to your website or get them to contact you for more information. Visit our Speak in public page for more tips on preparing a speech.
Petitions are good if you want to get support for a particular issue or campaign. Visit our Start a petition page for tips on how to get signatures on your petition.
Get a story published in the school or university media or your local paper. Let the editor or writer know well in advance about an event and ask staff to write about it. Visit our Work with the media page for more information about getting media support.
Meetings are your chance to tell new supporters what your cause is about and why it’s so important. Keep a contact list at your meetings, especially the first one, so interested people can show they’re interested in joining the group or receiving updates about activities.
Tips for clear communication
- Use plain language that everyone can understand.
- Check and double check spelling and grammar whenever you’re writing something that other people will read (including email).
- Know your campaigns and projects back to front, so you have the information ready when you get a question.
- Be passionate – you’ll attract more people by showing enthusiasm and commitment to your cause.
Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) Organizing Guide - downloadable in sections. See the chapter on mobilizing students, which includes tips on making your poster stand out.
Youthnoise - For instructions on how to start a MySpace or Facebook group.
Act Now - How to Write a Petition - For tips on how to write a petition and getting it out into the general public.