Starting a Local Group - Chat
Starting a Local Group - Chat
On Thursday September 30th at 9:00 pm EDT, please join us for a workshop on starting a local group. Will Albenzi, Free State Project Southern California Local Group Leader will share his insights on getting your local group up and running. Q & A will follow the presentation. This is the second in a series of chats which will alternate between Q & A sessions with FSP leaders and activist workshops. Upcoming workshops will include:
- Effective communication techniques for libertarians
- Effective meetings, and how to increase attendance
- Recruiting techniques for individuals: internet, Letters to the Editor, talk radio
- Liaison workshop
Please join us with your questions and ideas!
Free State Chat
9:00 EDT Thursday, September 30th 2004
Here's a transcript of the chat that took place:
21:05:26 [katdillon] Tonight we have Will Albenzi (SoCalFSP), local group leader for Southern CA to give us his insights on Local Groups
21:05:40 [dhynes] did anyone watch the badnarik debate earlier, i tried but the page didnt load
21:05:57 [einheit80] evening, will
21:06:04 [DadaOrwell] whatchya got fer us socal?
21:06:15 [davemincin] yikes Kat why does it keep say for me to obey the rules?
21:06:15 [SoCalFSP] Hello, I am Will Albenzi, and I did not intend to be a local group leader
21:06:25 [katdillon] I'll let him tell how he wants to proceed from here. If you want to send private messages, use /to person message
21:06:56 [SoCalFSP] I had to become one because there was no SoCalFSP Local Group
21:07:09 [SoCalFSP] I imagine that many of you experienced the same thing.
21:07:41 [DadaOrwell] i do when i'm in colorado
21:07:46 [SoCalFSP] When I started, all I had were the guidelines and a few ideas. I made a lot of mistakes.
21:08:10 [SoCalFSP] and I hope that I can help you avoid them
21:08:27 [dhynes] will you be giving examples
21:08:41 [SoCalFSP] I am here to help. But first I want to address how to get questions to me.
21:09:20 [SoCalFSP] Because this chat is being logged, I would like to help readability by seperating questions from content.
21:09:47 [SoCalFSP] Please send the questions you have to SoCalFSP@sbcglobal.net, and I will answer them one at a time.
21:10:31 [SoCalFSP] Please do not hesitate to ask any questions, even if it is a month from now.
21:11:02 [SoCalFSP] I believe the FSP to be my best chance to live free, and I believe Local Groups are the best chance the FSP has.
21:11:31 [SoCalFSP] Also, I will be answering the questions in the chat at the end.
21:12:09 [SoCalFSP] OK, the first problem I had was in order to do stuff I needed people.
21:12:36 [SoCalFSP] I had no idea where to get them or how.
21:12:54 [davemincin] hey Dan...thinking this system is moving real slow?
21:13:22 [SoCalFSP] But now The Local Group Coordinator is able to split off the relevant portion of the database for you.
21:13:59 [SoCalFSP] The spreadsheet you will get gives you your starting pool of volunteers.
21:14:12 [davemincin] just my words are taking a long time to show up...expect best to just not talk and let you folk do it!
21:14:55 [SoCalFSP] People joined the FSP because they had a dream of Liberty, and now they can help make it happen.
21:15:23 [SoCalFSP] I have done numerous mailings, and found that about one in ten people respond to Bulk Mailings
21:16:31 [SoCalFSP] And I call a bulk mailing one where you write an e-mail that could be send to 100 people .
21:17:28 [SoCalFSP] When I write an e-mail that is individual, I look at the database, and I find out where they are from, or what made them join, and I write them a letter that THEY know was not written by a computer.
21:17:53 [SoCalFSP] Individual e-mails I get about half.
21:18:01 [dhynes] where did you get a list of names from
21:18:27 [SoCalFSP] But I have heard that some people don't even have many people in their group.
21:19:34 [SoCalFSP] I think that the best thing to do, is a suggestion I just got from Dada Orwell.
21:20:16 [SoCalFSP] He has found that announcing the meeting in a letter to the editor worked.
21:20:38 [SoCalFSP] I also think that it might be useful to post things at gun ranges or head shops.
21:20:53 [SoCalFSP] Because your real problem is recruiting.
21:21:21 [SoCalFSP] And you might be with one or two others at first, until your recruiting efforts pay off.
21:22:06 [SoCalFSP] Another person said that their meetings are poorly attended.
21:22:22 [SoCalFSP] He thought it might be because of a lack of agenda.
21:22:57 [johnnylemu] has anyone experience resistance from their local LP group?
21:23:20 [SoCalFSP] I try to picture myself as a women with three kids and a husband to take care of. What would make me take the time to go to a meeting as oppossed to a good bubble bath?
21:23:32 [SoCalFSP] There are a couple of things.
21:23:50 [SoCalFSP] Speakers or a presentation might get some people to go.
21:24:08 [SoCalFSP] There will be an Article on /training pretty soon about that.
21:24:39 [SoCalFSP] I also think that having a track record increases attendance.
21:25:09 [SoCalFSP] People want to be a part of something successful. I think all of us know that talk is not winning our country back.
21:25:16 [SoCalFSP] We need to ACT!
21:25:56 [SoCalFSP] I doknow what will not work. I just had a Local Group meeting with three people in attendance.
21:26:10 [SoCalFSP] I will list the reasons I messed that up.
21:26:53 [SoCalFSP] First, I rested on my laurels. I thought people would check the calendar, and I did not talk about the meeting a lot.
21:27:22 [SoCalFSP] So people did not feel it was very important.
21:28:03 [SoCalFSP] Second, I did not ask for RSVPs.
21:28:18 [SoCalFSP] I had no idea it was a disaster until I showed up.
21:29:01 [SoCalFSP] I also think that my meeting agenda was not interesting to enough people.
21:29:28 [SoCalFSP] We were doing so much that many people just needed time away to them selves.
21:29:52 [dhynes] what was on your meeting agenda
21:30:36 [SoCalFSP] The people shortage is really driving the FSP, and my goal has been to ACT! as much as possible.
21:31:18 [SoCalFSP] When a local group is short on people, they need to start ACT!ing that much sooner.
21:31:42 [SoCalFSP] Recruiting is always interesting, and I am still learning.
21:32:22 [SoCalFSP] But I think that if you are not sure who to make contact with, look at the list of Liaisons.
21:33:01 [SoCalFSP] They are knowledgeable about sub-cultures in which the idea of Liberty may be uniquely appealing.
21:33:51 [SoCalFSP] Whether it is headshops, gun-ranges, college campuses, nudists, tax-protestors, or homeschoolers
21:34:28 [SoCalFSP] you should be able to find a person in the Liaisons who knows what particular issues that sub-culture is concerned with.
21:35:15 [SoCalFSP] There will be future training sessions and articles on recruiting.
21:35:37 [SoCalFSP] Because the main focus of a group is to ACT!
21:36:25 [SoCalFSP] we have to prepare for our first actions before we even get started.
21:36:36 [SoCalFSP] with the local group
21:36:59 [johnnylemu] like what, in term of actions?
21:37:20 [SoCalFSP] Most of us will be having our first action be a meeting where we can get to know those who are going to carry the FSP to victory
21:37:53 [SoCalFSP] I call an action, any time we try to do anything as a group.
21:38:06 [SoCalFSP] A celebration is an action (motivate volunteers)
21:38:19 [SoCalFSP] An outreach is an action (recruiting)
21:38:49 [SoCalFSP] Or a media spectical is an action
21:39:05 [SoCalFSP] Letter writing is also a way to ACT!
21:39:47 [SoCalFSP] All actions take some preperatio
21:39:52 [SoCalFSP] preperation
21:40:56 [SoCalFSP] If it is you alone, you can post index cardson bullitin boards, or chalk sidewalks, or write letters to the editor, or just stand on the street corner and hand out flyers at an event.
21:42:08 [SoCalFSP] Those actions each require you to know who is going to be there, what you will need to do it, and how you plan to get the information to people.
21:42:53 [SoCalFSP] Index cards and markers can work if you are alone and not well-funded as a local group.
21:44:14 [SoCalFSP] The FSP executives are working on ways that they can better support the local groups outreach efforts.
21:45:12 [SoCalFSP] When they let us know what they are going to do, I suspect that if we show them that we ACT! There might be an even greater focus on the needs of the Local group.
21:45:44 [SoCalFSP] But first we need to show them that we are a better investment than an ad in Socialism weekly
21:46:33 [SoCalFSP] There is an article on http://www.freestateproject.org/training that I put to help get everyone the info they needed to get started.
21:47:31 [SoCalFSP] there will be more put on /training in the coming weeks as we develop the ways that we get the knowledge to the Local Group Leaders, who will use it to ACT!
21:48:56 [SoCalFSP] I would strongly suggest that local group leaders get to know as many people as they can. Especially the very new people.
21:49:08 [SoCalFSP] I know that when I joined, I got nothing.
21:49:14 [SoCalFSP] No one contacted me.
21:49:19 [SoCalFSP] I felt alone.
21:49:34 [SoCalFSP] I went to join a local group, and there wasn't one.
21:50:04 [SoCalFSP] I saw that other meetings had been attempted, but that they fizzled.
21:51:05 [SoCalFSP] If someone had contacted me as a new person, who lived in my area, not just a name on the computer screen
21:51:26 [SoCalFSP] I would have been a great volunteer from day 1.
21:51:49 [SoCalFSP] As it was it took six months before I decided to try something myself.
21:52:23 [SoCalFSP] These new recruits have been shown a fantastic idea, and want to do something.
21:52:50 [SoCalFSP] they just are not sure how, and many of them are too shy to ask for help.
21:52:57 [SoCalFSP] So we need to offer it.
21:54:07 [SoCalFSP] As Local Group Leaders, we need to greet for our area, we need to become speakers for our area.
21:54:22 [SoCalFSP] We need to find opportunities in our area.
21:54:32 [dhynes] why not have someone contact everyone who joins up and refer them to their local group
21:54:38 [SoCalFSP] and we need to find those people who will make the Local Group stronger.
21:55:16 [SoCalFSP] I believe that individual contact is where the Local Groups can really shine.
21:55:34 [SoCalFSP] FSP HQ is just a place on the computer.
21:56:03 [SoCalFSP] I want people to know that I am available to have cofee with them, and to chat about
21:56:20 [SoCalFSP] what kinds of things we will do, and how we will pull it off.
21:56:33 [SoCalFSP] One person sending the same form letter to everyone is OK.
21:56:46 [SoCalFSP] But I think that we can do better than that for now.
21:57:36 [SoCalFSP] I imagine until I am having 30 people a week, I can take five minutes to personally greet each person
21:57:58 [SoCalFSP] When you are contacted by someone, you know you matter.
21:58:14 [SoCalFSP] We can reassure them of the wisdom of their decision.
21:58:14 [DadaOrwell] I have a sample LTE I can show if you like
21:58:26 [DadaOrwell] LTE I used to recruit for a mtg in COLO
21:59:21 [einheit80] could you email ? email@example.com
21:59:29 [SoCalFSP] I believe that brainstorming should occur on the freestateproject forums.
21:59:53 [SoCalFSP] We can all collaborate to create the best possible produt there.
21:59:53 [DadaOrwell] http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=4;action=display;threadid=8155
22:00:13 [SoCalFSP] here it could be disruptive to have a side discussion.
22:00:22 [SoCalFSP] about that specifically.
22:00:29 [dhynes] how can someone sign up to be a greeter
22:01:07 [SoCalFSP] you can become a greeter by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
22:01:36 [SoCalFSP] you can also become a speaker for the FSP by e-mailing email@example.com
22:01:59 [SoCalFSP] I recommend all LGLs become speakers too.
22:02:32 [SoCalFSP] You may be able to delegate these duties later as the group grows.
22:03:24 [SoCalFSP] There has been a great "Speaker's training package" put together that will be added to http://www.freestateproject.org/training soon.
22:03:38 [SoCalFSP] I expect in the next couple of days.
22:05:17 [SoCalFSP] Speakers
22:05:27 [SoCalFSP] are a great way to get new members
22:06:37 [SoCalFSP] You may be able to find other groups that would love to have a speaker from the FSP.
22:06:42 [katdillon] Brainstorming: http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=54;action=display;threadid=8224
22:06:58 [SoCalFSP] Many college groups want to have interesting meetings too
22:07:28 [SoCalFSP] Now, I have not recieved many questions, so shoot away
22:08:07 [SoCalFSP] It is important to ask questions, because we have to know what you need to help get your Local Group started.
22:08:24 [DadaOrwell] thinking
22:08:35 [dhynes] I am in college, but do not know if there are any colleges near me with a group, or how i should start one
22:08:44 [johnnylemu] okay, do we have resources set up to make the move as smooth as possible
22:08:59 [dhynes] is there a list of colleges with FSP groups
22:09:03 [johnnylemu] so that even before they ask the question, I can just say "go here".
22:09:38 [SoCalFSP] We have not set up a "safety-net" that I know of, but the Welcome Wagon" handles some of that.
22:09:59 [DadaOrwell] I do have a comment tho not a question: the important thing with local groups is just getting people to the meetings. however you recruit, you have to really get the word out to local members and interested people about every meeting
22:10:43 [SoCalFSP] I would think that meetings become less important the further along you go.
22:11:09 [DadaOrwell] oh also another thing thats worked ok in colorado is combining your FSP meeting with a local LP meeting
22:11:09 [SoCalFSP] Special meetings will get a lot of attendees
22:11:38 [katdillon] Welcome wagon: http://freestateproject.org/community/welcomewagon/
22:11:45 [johnnylemu] Dada, that only works of your local LP chair isn't hostile to the FSP
22:11:53 [SoCalFSP] Dada, you should put that into the brainstorming section
22:12:16 [johnnylemu] of=if
22:12:50 [dhynes] are most LP places friendly to or hostile to FSP
22:13:15 [katdillon] Do you have an answer for johnny's earlier question: what to do if your local LP is hostile?
22:13:31 [SoCalFSP] I was asked how to get permission to speak. That will be covered by Friday on http://www.freestateproject/training
22:13:44 [SoCalFSP] I think the local LP can be calmed
22:13:51 [SoCalFSP] Here is how
22:15:12 [SoCalFSP] Assure the Local LP that the FSP is a bigger help than a burden.
22:15:23 [SoCalFSP] Most LP people do not believe the FSP will work
22:15:48 [SoCalFSP] If they are right, there is nothing to worry about.
22:16:07 [SoCalFSP] Then we will help them with some of their activities.
22:16:42 [SoCalFSP] The SoCalFSP is helping some conservative group put on a film festival.
22:17:22 [SoCalFSP] We are not the conservative group, but we know that we can get some exposure for the FSP by wearing FSP logo material
22:17:49 [SoCalFSP] I would love to see a "Libertarian" event where more than half of the people are wearing FSP t-shirts.
22:18:27 [SoCalFSP] I want people to say, "I need to protest taxes in SoCal, and those FSP people are always willing to help. I should call them"
22:19:07 [SoCalFSP] I figure that will cause some people to think "At every event I care about those FSP people are helping out. What happens when they move?"
22:19:18 [SoCalFSP] "Maybe I should go with them"
22:19:39 [SoCalFSP] HAHAHAHAHA. FSP does good by doing good.
22:20:22 [SoCalFSP] Any other questions/comments/name-calling
22:20:37 [SoCalFSP] Actually I saw earlier
22:20:49 [SoCalFSP] that there was discussion of the presidential debate.
22:21:06 [einheit80] dont know enough to ask yet
22:21:30 [SoCalFSP] I have a policy where I refuse to get into presidential politics, and try to discourage others from doing so.
22:21:39 [katdillon] before this ends, if someone would /save the transcript and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I'd really appreciate
22:21:44 [SoCalFSP] We have all made up our minds, and are very apssionate.
22:21:54 [SoCalFSP] passionate
22:21:59 [the_third] "Discussion" might be too srong a word. There's nothing to discuss.
22:22:27 [SoCalFSP] I have seen a cordial conversation quickly degenerate. I was partially at fault.
22:23:04 [katdillon] More discussing that they were happening, rather than debating about them
22:23:19 [SoCalFSP] I will not do that again. We must work on the things we agree with, not focus on the stuff we don't
22:23:43 [johnnylemu] okay, here's a question
22:24:07 [johnnylemu] I signed up on the FSP egroup when it first started
22:24:20 [johnnylemu] at that time there was talk of secession
22:24:24 [SoCalFSP] OK
22:24:38 [johnnylemu] I am a secessionist, philosophically
22:25:02 [johnnylemu] nowadays, the whole secession thing is disavowed
22:25:29 [SoCalFSP] Seceessation is not an FSP goal. There are some people who support it. I believe that most do not.
22:25:38 [SoCalFSP] I know that I do not.
22:25:59 [SoCalFSP] I think that once there we will all get to speak our minds though
22:26:10 [SoCalFSP] and debate the merits of every plan.
22:26:17 [katdillon] From the FAQ: A: No, the Free State Project is not promoting secession.
22:26:40 [johnnylemu] even as a final option?
22:26:59 [SoCalFSP] I would say that the FSP does not support secessation, but some members do.
22:27:21 [SoCalFSP] THE FSP is "barely political"
22:27:32 [katdillon] The FSP is only about moving people to NH, what they do after they're there is their business
22:27:32 [johnnylemu] okay, I can do that
22:27:55 [SoCalFSP] We support the idea of freedom, but not much endorsement of specific solutions
22:28:37 [SoCalFSP] The important part is to let people know that when you are free (as in living in NH) every one will get a voice
22:29:27 [SoCalFSP] Is there anything else?
22:30:06 [SoCalFSP] Now my turn again.
22:30:24 [SoCalFSP] Does everyone know what they are going to be trying for the next wo months?
22:30:32 [SoCalFSP] two months?
22:31:00 [SoCalFSP] If you are not sure we can talk about it.
22:31:21 [katdillon] 3 recruits and 2 new endorsements
22:31:23 [einheit80] next two months are rough. still recovering from the hurricane. i'm going back to school in the spring as well.
22:31:33 [johnnylemu] getting a booth at the lext local rolling thunder, then setting up my first local group meeting
22:32:33 [SoCalFSP] Ein, you might want to consider trying to find other FSPers to help Hurricane victims, it might get a lot of play
22:32:38 [SoCalFSP] on the TV
22:32:53 [katdillon] cool idea!
22:33:03 [SoCalFSP] Kat, how will you be getting them.
22:33:16 [SoCalFSP] That is always the hard part.
22:33:53 [davemincin] don't float! This meeting is about helping local groups!
22:34:03 [katdillon] difficult from NH, but I want to go to another Sci-Fi convention in Mass. next month, and I write to selected people online
22:34:22 [katdillon] not sure what you mean, Dave
22:34:41 [SoCalFSP] Also, Ein. since you are so busy, try to find one or two others who might help you get the Local Group active.
22:35:24 [SoCalFSP] I think that having a sincere desire is the first step, but you have to make sure you are able to lead a local group too.
22:35:38 [SoCalFSP] And it does take time!
22:37:12 [SoCalFSP] I would like to leave you all with one final idea, if you ACT! something might go wrong, and you might fail. If you don't do anything, we are guaranteed to fail.
22:37:57 [katdillon] Thanks Will, and everyone who came tonight
22:38:08 [SoCalFSP] Thank you very much. I would love to hear your critiques. Send them to SoCalFSP@sbcglobal.net
22:38:52 [johnnylemu] thanks, SoCal