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Now that you have developed your list of potential HUN members, it’s time to reach out and recruit them to the network! This section will guide you through this process and outline several ways of bringing members on board.
Outreach may be something that is already in your job description, something that you are already familiar with, or something that just comes naturally to you. However, setting a framework for how you do outreach could be useful for organizing your recruitment.
There are two types of outreach for recruiting network members: passive and active.
Passive outreach includes all advertising, including print, radio, and television. It is passive because the outreach recipient is simply exposed to your message and then he or she may respond to it. This approach is good for reaching many people and getting the word out. For example, it is relatively inexpensive to mail letters, post flyers, or post a Facebook message. The problem with passive marketing is that it may not be enough to motivate individuals to respond.
Active outreach is the second approach to outreach. Like passive outreach, active outreach puts the message out, but takes it a step further. The message is followed by a telephone call, email or personal contact. Active outreach is good for reaching those who might not respond to a passive message, but with personal contact may choose to participate. Of course, it is more difficult to reach large numbers of people through active outreach because it takes time to personally contact people. However, it is an effective method for engaging a small number of people and networking to find the right people for your HUN. Also, you should prepare to talk to more people than you actually need to join the network as some won’t have the time or the interest to participate.
Both passive and active outreach are important to the success of many human services. Plus, passive and active outreach methods work well together. First you mail out information or disseminate it widely in some way and then you follow up with personal contact.
- Passive: Initial contact – Distribute message via flyer/email/letter/factsheets/social media.
- Active: Phone call – The next step is to follow up your passive recruitment with a phone call to speak directly with the individual or organization representative. (Email can work for this step, but most people respond more positively to a phone call.)
- Active: In-person meetings – Often, the best way to build connections and develop relationships is through direct, in-person contact. If someone has expressed interest in the project but is new to independent living, invite her to your office for a tour, or meet for coffee to discuss the project.
An important part of recruiting members will be to communicate what it means to be a network member, specifically what you are asking them to do. So what are the expectations of HUN members?
- Agree with the mission and values of the project:
- “Why Home Matters” – the importance of home usability issues is explained in this fact sheet
- Consumer choice and control
- Be available:
- Respond to emails
- Attend occasional in-person meetings if possible
- Help if possible
- Volunteer money, materials, time, connections
Once you have recruited a few network members you could hold an open house, or arrange a larger meet-and-greet during which network members meet each other and become familiar with the work that the HUN does. More on setting up this meeting in “Team Building for the Network” section.
Here are some resources to help you with your recruitment effort. The information in the links below relates specifically to this project and the home usability network. However, other information, such as information about housing in your local community, could help you in your recruitment efforts. Other ways to recruit: Does your center produce a newsletter? Are there other local disability organizations or housing organizations that you work with? Do they have flyers or newsletters? These are all potential outreach materials!
- Why Home Matters: This fact sheet outlines the core values and mission of the project. This will help educate potential members about the usability issues people face in their homes.
- AHS Facsheet: This fact sheet compiled by the University of Montana and the University of Kansas highlights data from the 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS). The fact sheet shows the high rates of inaccessibility for renters with mobility impairments throughout the United States.
- Intro to Independent Living: This fact sheet outlines some of the core principles of Independent Living and can help you inform and educate potential members about the values of the project.
- Recruitment Tips: This fact sheet provides some tips and suggestions about recruiting and working with volunteers.
- Organizations: This provides a list of possible organizations to partner with, many of these organizations may have local chapters or affiliates.
- Fundraising Tips: This fact sheet provides basic tips for organizing any fundraising projects as well as some helpful links!
- Tailored Messages Templates: It is valuable to tailor your recruitment message to your audience. This document provides some concise messaging for different potential members of the HUN.