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Starting a Member Group - share your experiences
Posted: 6 Nov 2009, 10:11am
I'm starting a new Member Group in Peterborough (the previous incarnation lapsed into disrepair and got downgraded to an Informal Group) and I thought it would be good for people who've been through the process already to share their experiences.
I'm not talking about the actual CTC procedure, rather the "soft" stuff like the publicity and marketing of your group to members and non-members, the type of rides you do, using a website or newsletters, etc.
What worked for you?
Re: Starting a Member Group - share your experiences
Posted: 6 Nov 2009, 10:29am
When we started up a group (which wasn't a CTC group), we used the 'net plus fliers in local cycle shops.
On the net we had a webpage explaining exactly what we wanted to do, where we wanted to do it and so on. And, also, we had our own forum. It was the forum that really helped get things going - it allowed people to chat before going out on their first ride, thus putting some of their worries at rest before they took the plunge and committed. It also allowed us to get feedback from potential members and see what they want - it seemed much easier to have these discussions on a forum than lots of separate conversations.
For the fliers we put our basic details on - don't over crowd them, make then easy to read at a glance with easy contact details. Told any shop that would put one up that we would mention it on our website (and hopefully they'd do a discount for members).
Our other form of advertising was via other, pre-existing 'net cycling forums.
However, we were an MTB group and so our potential membership was probably a little more internet active than that of a CTC member group. So, the obvious first move is to contact Dan and get a notice put in Cycle.
Once we'd got a few members we put together a rides list. My advise would be - don't be over ambitious to start with, just knock up an easy schedule, maybe once a fortnight. Also be prepared to say that you are leading a ride and then have no one turn up...this will probably happen at first, but as you get more members it will happen less often. Also, getting other people to lead rides can be a bit of a hassle - if you don't want to lead very time and no one else is volunteering then consider having a fixed route ride every now and then, where no leader is needed (you an have a day of then).
It's also good to have a social side - gentle night ride to a pub, curry night, etc helps people feel that they are part of something, and might even get their families involved.
A newsletter is also good - ride reviews, etc: if people see their own name in print, again, it makes them feel like part of something.
Once you do get up and going with a few members, NO ought to then send you a list of CTC members in your area who you can contact and let them know you exist. But this is a bit of a Catch 22 - NO can't let just anyone have the list: you have to show that you have a group on the go, but getting a group on the go without the list can be difficult! However, there are others here better able to tell you about the workings of the CTC side than I.
Oh yes, and talk to Ru88ell - he has created an affiliated group over the last few years that has been a stunning success.