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3 (Nearly) Free Ideas for Online to Offline Engagement

You’ve built your organization’s email list, and have consistent open rates or other metrics.  Now how do you get the people behind those email addresses offline and build them up as leaders – and for low or no cost?

1.  Listen to your network.

Have all staff members spend an hour listening to new members and top leaders (those who participate at the highest levels in your organization).  Ask open ended questions like “How did you get started?” and “What inspires you?”  Encourage open-ended story-telling.

Come back together for a staff lunch, compare notes, and see what themes or ideas emerge.

2.  Build leadership through having your engaged members thank new members.

If you have people on your email list with consistently high open rates or other participation, take the opportunity to engage them further with a simple task that makes them feel great, deepens their commitment, and is not time-intensive.  Our favorite is the “Sunshine Team”:

Invite people at this participation level to call and thank five new members who just gave money.  Provide a script and appropriate contact info.  You can do something fancy like automate this through a text to phone dial list, or you can do it via email with your development team.

Try it first with 10 highly engaged people and see what happens or what other ideas arise.

3.  Start a small circle in five locations.

Find a book, film, or video about your organization (or relevant to its work) that you think is compelling.  Ask five of your most engaged leaders to host a dinner and discussion about it.  Get feedback from those leaders on the outcome.  Were people inspired to get more deeply involved?

Starting your online to offline engagement program can be done one step at a time, expanding your program as resources fall into place.

You could also decide you want 10,000 dedicated people on the ground by year’s end and launch all three of these ideas and more with paid staff nationwide.

Either way, the process is essentially the same:  try things with your most engaged people, get feedback, and refine the program accordingly.

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One Comment

  1. Matthew
    02/02/2011 at 12:43 am

    This is great to read. Starting small circles is the key to so many large movements. Unique circles, but connected in webs. Very nice.

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