What is the best way to attract members to a political forum without spending a fortune on advertising?

Posted on September 19th, 2011 by admin1 in political advertising

I’ve recently started a political forum based on the rational debate of political issues in search of the best solution. I’m paying for everything out of my own pockets, which, being a college student, are not exactly overflowing with cash. I’ve established a good bit of discussion with some friends, who are active. I’ve tried google advertising, I’ve tried starting a group at the university here, I’ve tried putting up signs, I’ve tried getting my friends to spread the word amongst their friends, but I just can’t seem to motivate other people to get involved.

Dude, have I got the help for you. I’ve just gone through all this mess trying to start a movement here in Tacoma. First things first, you have to have a name that grabs peoples attention, both for the group and for the forum. Then you pitch the idea to local groups, like the Democrats or the Greens or some other local organization. If you’re shy, you can spread the word via email lists, forums, message boards, or other media. Then when you get a few hits of people who are interested, you can ask them if they have any resources you can use. Use the cheapest means available to raise awareness of your event. If there are community calendars or bulletin boards at places of social significance, plaster them liberally.

Start a blog. Check out the one I started at www.apctahoma.blogspot.com There you can see that I really created the whole concept right there on the spot. It takes a little work to set up and to post to, but you can do it for free over at blogger.com. With a blog you can update members about meetings, post cool articles, and build an online community. What you really want to do is find a techie or group of techies who like your cause and want to help promote it with their expertise. Without that kind of help, you’re stuck just working on messaging your event and tooling it to appeal to a broad base of folks. Which can be effective, but the sooner you get an active web presence and good media materials, you won’t be seen as quite professional enough.

Sponsors are critical, whether it’s your local Labor Council or a small local business. Use the resources you have to open up other resources.

Since you’re a college student, you have access to something other people don’t have: college faculty. Find a teacher who believes in what you believe, and let him tell you how it’s done. Most active teachers will love to help you set up something like this, particularly poltical science or history professors.

Also, critical to this work is picking events that have action related stuff in the ad. So it could be writing letters, marching, hearing speeches, interacting in workshops, drumming or eating, whatever the activity is. And it should imply that something is actually going to be accomplished. Folks usually only like to go to process-type meetings if they’re involved in the leadership, so instead set up some fun activities for the group to do. You might even partner up with a local charity and do something jointly together as a way of bringing your networks together. In this day and age, service attracts a lot of interesting people.

And know your audience. If your audience is sophomores and juniors have good music, very little drama, and a whole lot of interesting conversation, and the good times will roll. With seniors and beyond, focus on events as they can fit into a full-time grownup’s busy schedule.

Also incorporate elements of you into everything you do. If you like art, get some art for your event. If you like piano, get yourself a pianist. Remember, if it isn’t fun, you won’t keep doing it. And you have to keep doing it.

Go ahead and steal this title idea "Speak Your Peace – A Community Forum on the Future of Democracy" Perhaps that will inspire you to come up with good ideas of your own.

Good luck, and never stop believing in the power of good people to do great things.

2 Comments on “What is the best way to attract members to a political forum without spending a fortune on advertising?”

  1. freedomfighterx

    Dude, have I got the help for you. I’ve just gone through all this mess trying to start a movement here in Tacoma. First things first, you have to have a name that grabs peoples attention, both for the group and for the forum. Then you pitch the idea to local groups, like the Democrats or the Greens or some other local organization. If you’re shy, you can spread the word via email lists, forums, message boards, or other media. Then when you get a few hits of people who are interested, you can ask them if they have any resources you can use. Use the cheapest means available to raise awareness of your event. If there are community calendars or bulletin boards at places of social significance, plaster them liberally.

    Start a blog. Check out the one I started at http://www.apctahoma.blogspot.com There you can see that I really created the whole concept right there on the spot. It takes a little work to set up and to post to, but you can do it for free over at blogger.com. With a blog you can update members about meetings, post cool articles, and build an online community. What you really want to do is find a techie or group of techies who like your cause and want to help promote it with their expertise. Without that kind of help, you’re stuck just working on messaging your event and tooling it to appeal to a broad base of folks. Which can be effective, but the sooner you get an active web presence and good media materials, you won’t be seen as quite professional enough.

    Sponsors are critical, whether it’s your local Labor Council or a small local business. Use the resources you have to open up other resources.

    Since you’re a college student, you have access to something other people don’t have: college faculty. Find a teacher who believes in what you believe, and let him tell you how it’s done. Most active teachers will love to help you set up something like this, particularly poltical science or history professors.

    Also, critical to this work is picking events that have action related stuff in the ad. So it could be writing letters, marching, hearing speeches, interacting in workshops, drumming or eating, whatever the activity is. And it should imply that something is actually going to be accomplished. Folks usually only like to go to process-type meetings if they’re involved in the leadership, so instead set up some fun activities for the group to do. You might even partner up with a local charity and do something jointly together as a way of bringing your networks together. In this day and age, service attracts a lot of interesting people.

    And know your audience. If your audience is sophomores and juniors have good music, very little drama, and a whole lot of interesting conversation, and the good times will roll. With seniors and beyond, focus on events as they can fit into a full-time grownup’s busy schedule.

    Also incorporate elements of you into everything you do. If you like art, get some art for your event. If you like piano, get yourself a pianist. Remember, if it isn’t fun, you won’t keep doing it. And you have to keep doing it.

    Go ahead and steal this title idea "Speak Your Peace – A Community Forum on the Future of Democracy" Perhaps that will inspire you to come up with good ideas of your own.

    Good luck, and never stop believing in the power of good people to do great things.References :

  2. Randall

    The gentleman above gave such a complete, long and thorough answer, and yet it wasn’t good enough for you. I suggest we let the people vote and see what they think. Do the right thing! Vote for the answer above!References :

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