Get people involved and keep them engaged in what matters most to them!
Recruiting is one of the most important phases of policy work. This phase allows for other people or institutions to get involved and advocate for the health of the community. Below are some important points to keep in mind when recruiting advocates:
Before recruitment begins....
Understand your policy goal and purpose of recruiting
Have clarity about what work needs to be done
Consider diverse community partners, including those most impacted by the issue
Know your audience
Identify messages that will encourage others to participate
It is crucial to understand your goals, otherwise you cannot go back to your "why," and can easily get discouraged through the recruitment process if things do not turn out the way you expected. Know what you are rooting for. Is it to advocate for a particular policy? Is it to advocate against a policy that your local government is looking at? What is your goal to achieve optimal health for your community? Once you have your goal/s outlined, start brainstorming about the role advocates will play in the process. It does not have to be too detailed, it can be one or two activities that advocates will work on. Do this in order to prevent overwhelming the group and to provide clarity to them while you recruit - most people want to know what will be expected of them if they become involved. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. Your audience will listen to you if you communicate messages that are aligned with their interests. Remember that you cannot do this without knowing your audience first!
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Most people prefer to recruit local community members, while others extend their recruitment outside of their community. And whether you decide to do either or both, making sure that you recruit local influential organizations, (such as local community based organizations and respectable public health organizations within the area), is key. Influential organizations already have a platform that can increase the chances of reaching more people and resources that your group can make a great use of; don't miss out on connecting with them!
Gaining the trust of those whom you aim to recruit is as important as any other step to recruiting. Listen to them, as this is the only way you will learn about their ideas and experiences, and show that you care about what they are sharing with you. Think long-term relationship when you practice this. Recruitment goes a long way when you identify the people's interests, provide clarity about the work, and establish mutual understanding. Keep in mind that this process can take time, but with the help of volunteers it can be done more quickly and efficiently.
Once recruitment has begun, aim to continuously work to keep members engaged in advocacy efforts. Below are some ways in which you can do this:
Celebrate victories, no matter how small or big
Have an open mind and ask for opinions and feedback from your members
Communicate regularly to ensure that key partners are informed
Provide members with opportunities to become leaders
Identify ways in which your movement can grow with more people
Check out our "Resources" page to find more material on this topic. If you have any questions regarding recruitment, or need help getting started, please visit our "Stay In Touch!" page to contact us.
Best of luck!