4 Responses to “The Million Dollar Question: Moving Past the Usual Suspects”

  1. John Stephens

    Kevin – thanks for the good thoughts.
    Can you offer a reflection on how recruitment efforts may differ between Doing vs. Talk/Learn? What I mean is a “doing” gathering is the Habitat project you highlighted: getting volunteers for an activity with a more concrete outcome. For your WorldDenver group, it seems more of a talk/listen/learn/network kind of payoff.
    Do you need more of a friends connection to commit to a Habitat-like activity, compared to looser relationships for someone to stop by after work for a WorldDenver conversation?

  2. Kevin Amirehsani

    Great question, John. We at WorldDenver had a lot of conversations about just that – our different strategies for recruiting interested people for “Doing” vs. “Talk/Learn” events.

    Our Talk/Learn activities, which are our bread and butter, tend to attract an older, higher income, and less ethnically diverse crowd. We try to make up for this by varying their location, spending more resources on pushing them out via channels that our younger members tend to use, like social media, and often organizing “networking happy hours” to take place directly after them. But some of these strategies themselves have risks: we’re less able to tap into the Denver metro area’s growing Muslim population due to the alcohol issue, for instance, and you don’t want to inundate your members with too many Facebook group invites, lest they start tuning out completely. I do agree that Talk/Learn events, given that they usually begin after work, require “looser relationships,” but they can also be very much in your face with social interactions, which may scare newer and more timid members.

    On the other hand, though our sample size is small (but increasing!), our Doing events tend to attract a younger and slightly more diverse crowd. Part of this is because many take place on weekend mornings (kickball notwithstanding) and are away from downtown, where the majority of WorldDenver events are held. We are curious about how much our marketing for these types of events reinforce the makeup of those who attend – do we end up getting an even younger crowd because we’re programmed to think that only young people will attend in the first place? But our biggest issue is how to incorporate opportunities for members (particularly new ones) to interact with others during these doing events. This is why we prefer volunteer opportunities that still allow us to chat during the process and work in groups, rather than more individual volunteer roles.

  3. Ginger Wireman

    Going where the people are can work wonders for engagement! The International Assoc. for a Public Participation (IAP2) had some cool sessions on reaching Millenials at their 2015 conference. Most presentations are on their website iap2.org

    • Kevin Amirehsani

      Very cool – thanks Ginger! I’m a big fan of IAP2 and their work. I’ll definitely check them out.


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