Running a Healthy Local Group

Our Local Groups are at the heart of what we do. But sometimes it can be hard to recruit new members or keep people interested; especially when many people have busy lives.

Here we look at some top tips, developed by Local Group members, to help recruit new members and keep your Local Group healthy, active and accessible!

You can also take a look at this handy checklist for encouraging people to be (and stay) involved in your group.

Promote and advertise your group meetings and events!

Do this in a range of forums and locations – online and offline. If people don‘t know about your meeting, they won’t attend! 

  • Try putting up posters like this on community notice boards. 
  • Make sure you publish the meeting details on your website and on social media.
  • Add your meeting to the LCC Events page

Make people feel comfortable and welcome

  • Say hello to new people and introduce each other! You could give everyone a name tag to remember everyone’s name.
  • Don’t assume that everyone is a cycling expert - people might not understand acronyms or technical terms.  Make sure you explain things to new people and let them know they can ask questions .
  • Tailor your agenda or meeting format to suit the people in the room. Can the detailed discussion on council proposals for a new cycle scheme take place with the relevant people another time, or over email?  Some people might not want to be involved in those discussions, or may not understand the language being used. 
  • Don’t focus on heavy details in meetings if possible – it can be alienating to new people. 

Chair the meeting well and keep to time

  • Some people may have to leave at the finish or won’t be able to stay longer plus no one likes a meeting that drags on and on!
  • Don’t let certain people dominate discussions
  • Make sure everyone is involved and encourage new people to speak or offer their thoughts (if they want to)

Mix up your meetings!

  • Change the venue and time to encourage different people along. Some people may have family or work commitments that might prevent them from attending a meeting at a certain time of day.
  • Some Local Groups move their meeting location around the borough to give different people a chance to join in.
  • Try a different format – include a speaker, do something purely social or arrange a training workshop to encourage new people to attend

Encourage diverse groups of people to attend your meetings!

  • Advertise your meetings widely, or target specific groups or areas to encourage more people along.
  • Don’t always meet in a pub or involve alcohol at your meetings – this may not be appropriate for some people and may put some people off attending.

Have a wide agenda

  • Appeal to more people by discussing different issues or topics at your meeting
  • Make sure you keep some time for a social chat after the meeting

Publicise and celebrate your group!

  • Show off your achievements and tell people who you are - write press releases, write blogs, talk about your group with your friends or at work....spread the word!

Do fun stuff!

  • Organise social events and bike rides to appeal to more people. It’s not just about monthly meetings.

Make use of everyones skills

  • See what people can offer in terms of skills or time
  • Make everyone feel valued by giving them a role or job to do, even if it's something small (if they want one)

Represent your group well

  • Have an up to date website – if the last post or news item is from 6 months ago, it doesn’t reflect well on the group and will put people off joining you.
  • Publicise your meetings and post the minutes afterwards.
  • Use images! Include different types of people, of all ages. 
  • Be active on social media and have a public Facebook group for people to find you. Don’t hide away on private discussion forums and closed groups!

USEFUL RESOURCES

Checklist for encouraging people to stay and be involved in your group

Face to Face Campaigning Guide

Speaking in Public  - Making your Talk Memorable

Strategies for shortening your meetings

Running productive meetings

Making Changes in your group 

Look at Rhizome and Seeds for Change for a range of other useful resources and guides.