As a partner with the Local Voices Network, one of your primary roles is to recruit and convene participants for your conversation.
Here are some helpful hints to help you prepare your recruitment strategies:
- Give yourself time to plan. You want there to be a minimum of three weeks lead time before your conversation to plan and send out invites.
- Be intentional. The first step of planning is to identify your conversation goal - or what you hope to learn as a part of these conversations. Once you understand this, identify who needs to be a part of the conversation in order to help you reach this goal.
- Focus on trust and relationship building. If the people who you would like to invite are people with whom you do not already have connections & trust built, identify other partner organizations or individual credible messengers who you do have a relationship with who can serve as a bridge between your organization and the people you are inviting.
- Select an accessible and inclusive time. After you have identified your invitees, ask a sample of folks from this community about times that are good - or times that should be avoided. Typical recommendations for this have shifted during COVID-19, so it is best to ask about this as well as about any accommodations that will allow for the greatest participation. If you are an organization that has regular meetings with a particular constituent group, see if you can plan your conversation at that time.
- Send warm, personal invitations. Once you have identified your target audience, do as much personal outreach as possible. Phone calls, texts, and individual emails where you let them know you are reaching out to them specifically in order to ensure their voice is included yields much better results than mass emails.
- Follow up. Send reminders, thank yous, and communications about how their voice was shared or amplified as a result of their participation.
If you are recruiting a group of people whose time or life experience is particularly in demand or necessary for you to reach your project goals, consider offering a stipend or gift card to recognize their vital contribution to your process.