Approach people or existing groups

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Do your research and consider whether any existing groups in the area could provide a platform from which to recruit group members or volunteers. A lot of time and energy may be saved by piggybacking on the resources of a community group that is already well-established, respected and recognised.

You should be able to identify a potential list of people and groups to contact simply by carrying out a basic internet search. Alternatively, you could get ideas for who to contact by talking to people and carrying out some kind of stakeholder mapping exercise.

Groups to consider approaching include:

Community groups. Community groups pursuing social or environmental aims will have a pool of potentially dedicated, passionate and likeminded people involved who could be interested in your project. Transition Network, Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace groups are particularly worth contacting and may be open to working in partnership.

Community or residents’ associations. Members of community or residents’ associations tend to be engaged with local issues and affairs, and therefore may be interested in becoming involved with your project.

Friends, family and colleagues. Your own personal connections could be willing to support the setting up and running of your project. However, it is wise not to limit recruitment to within your own circles if you want your group to be representative and to avoid appearing “cliquey”.

Experts and professionals. Experts and professionals can bring a variety of useful skills and contacts to your group.

Sports groups. Sports clubs and organisations bring people together and promote community spirit, providing a source of strong community connections.

Religious groups. Religious groups tend to be tight-knit and take an interest in local affairs and ethical issues, and therefore may a place to find interested individuals.

Political groups. Local political groups, such as those affiliated with the Green Party, could offer a source of community activists and passionate individuals.

Case Studies
Country: UK

Stroudco Food Hub pulled together a list of 83 local food and drink producers just by doing a bit of web-searching and networking.  They involved interested food producers and consumers in planning of their Food Hub right from the start, and many of these people continue to do a lot of valuable voluntary work in planning the future of the Hub.  There is a ‘core group’ of members elected each year who manage the Hub, made up of 50% consumers and 50% producers. You will be amazed by how many people right on your doorstep will be interested and engaged in your group’s cause – you just have to go out there and find them! 

Country: UK

Bath and West Community Energy’s team originally formed when initiatives started by the Transition Bath Energy Group and Transition Corsham came together under one banner. There are seven directors in the team, many of which have past experience of working on other community projects in Bath and the surrounding area.