Everyone Involved


How do we get people more engaged with community groups?

It is something that I imagine most groups are concerned about. Most of the people on their mailing list probably never turn up to any of their events. Some attend every now and then, or come for a while then stop coming back. Few are as actively engaged as the group would like them to be. I might even suggest that is impossible, because more engagement is usually better.

Some may just want to sit on the mailing list and keep an eye on the activities of the group. I know there are people and groups like this on the West Yorkshire Humanists mailing list. Others probably do genuinely intend to go to events, but there is always something else on. I have sat on the Leeds Salon’s mailing list for years and maybe made it to two events.

This was brought into sharp focus for me recently when I was talking to one of the people who run the Finnish language school. It sounds very useful for me. However, it is on a Saturday morning. Saturday morning is when I do Parkrun. And when I have band practice. And when my advanced Toastmasters club meets. It’s not that Saturday is a bad day, I am just busy all the time. But it it got me thinking about getting members to buy in.

“I am busy” is really a meaningless phrase because everyone is busy these days. It is shorthand for “I have other priorities”. Thus it might not be reaching people and letting them know about events that is the difficulty groups encounter. It could be that they are doing all of that, but they are not pushing themselves high enough up a person’s priorities.

At the same time, I was thinking about my host’s address for Sunday Assembly Leeds. I needed to talk about how the group is run by volunteers, and how we need people’s support volunteering. It occurred to me that one of the selling points should be that that is what a community is. If you are not volunteering, you are not really part of the community in the same way that somebody who is volunteering is. This is a whole different circle to get people inside as Rick Warren would describe it, but there is actually where the good stuff is for them as well as you.

Anecdotally I would say that once someone is involved in the group they spend more time thinking about it and are more likely to turn up to events. They feel like they know what is going on. They are part of the community, it forms a cornerstone of their social life and engagement spirals upwards.

That means that these two issues have a common solution. If you can get people to help run the organisation it not only helps the group run smoothly but is also beneficial for them because they fill including and their engagement levels go up in a positive feedback cycle.

Therefore I am putting forward the idea of Everyone Involved. What if you asked every member of your group to be involved in some way? It does not have to be a big way. They could help run things at events. Maybe put the welcome packs out or be a greeter. They could do something from home – write articles, update the website, even just re-tweet the group’s messages. But the idea is that everyone – every single member – would be asked to do a job, no matter how small or trivial.

I am still fleshing out the idea. It in itself is incredibly simple of course, but whether it is a good idea or not, and how it could be practically implemented remain to be discussed.



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This entry was posted on Saturday, December 5th, 2015 at 10:47 am and is filed under Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.