Lesson 3.2 – Growing Your CommunityGrowing Your Community
Without community participants all those great posts you’re doing will go unseen. How do you get neighbors to join?
The answer to this is going to vary from area to area and from person to person. If you are a social person and have lots of friends and family nearby, post to your social media accounts inviting everyone to check out the new sharing community or call/email/text friends about the idea. If you’re new to the area and don’t know anyone, you’ll need to do a bit more outreach.
The best way to spread the word about something you really love is to tell other people directly. Share your joy when you’ve found a matching lid for that pot you stopped using because the lid broke, or how it makes you feel when you receive something from a stranger. Tell your friends in person or on the phone or through any online platforms you’re a part of. (Thanks to Alexa Carey for sharing some of these ideas she’s used below.)
Here’s a list of some things to try:
- Join social media groups in the area and ask those admins if it’s okay to post about your new sharing community.
- Advertise in local community message boards, forums, tag sale groups and swaps, churches, festival pages, government pages, parks, etc. If you do a search for your town, you will find all kinds of pages and groups devoted to your particular area.
- Mom/parent groups can be a great way to get the word out. Kids are always needing larger size clothes or new toys.
- Neighborhood associations or apartment complex newsletters, bulletin boards in cafes, laundromats or libraries are all great venues for spreading the word.
- The best way is through word of mouth. When you have something great going on, people tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends. Use the challenges listed in Lesson 3.3 to spread the word.
- Tell the community that you want to grow! In your own words, explain why you participate in your Buy Nothing community, and what you hope for it to become, with help from your neighbors in spreading the word.
- Show the community that the Buy Nothing Project is special/different from what is already out there like the typical ‘free’ sites and Craigslist/Freecycle, because we focus on PEOPLE instead of stuff. You can post words or videos from the website or Facebook page.
It generally takes between 75-100 participants for posts to start connecting someone who wants polka dot curtains with someone who has polka dot curtains to give. Getting a new community to that number of participants can feel like it takes forever
. Don’t give up! Keep posting and modeling – when someone nearby begins to post or comment, comment back, or ‘like’ the post. If there is not much activity in the community, to build it you need to become active and engage with your neighbors who are participating. As they feel your commitment to community, they will participate and help the community grow.Link