APCUG Web Site
Index for this issue
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Group Brochure. Put brochures in libraries, computer stores, book stores, senior centers, camera stores, etc.
Newspaper / Local Web Page Announcements. Make sure newspaper announcements are received at least two weeks in advance of the meeting. Get to know the person you send your announcements to – make him/her an honorary member of your group and personally invite him/her to a meeting, send your contact a copy of the newsletter each month, give him/her a ‘goody bag’ with computer-related items, or just give cookies (newspaper people love to eat). Check out all of your local area web pages for those where you can list information about your group. Don’t forget to contact your local public access TV station -- they are always looking for content.
Table at Computer Shows. Staff a table at your local computer show. Hand out newsletters, brochures, information about upcoming meetings and also locations of other user groups in your area. A calendar with all user group meetings in your area is a nice touch. If the show wants to charge, offer to put an advertisement in your newsletter instead of payment.
Bonus for Members Who Bring Guests. Offer additional door prize tickets or other incentives to members who bring guests. If a guest joins, extend the sponsor’s membership by one month. Set a piece of substantial software aside and have a drawing after six months .... whoever sponsors a new member will be included in the special drawing. The more new members someone sponsors, the greater their chance is to win.
Guest Packet. Give each guest a packet that includes the current newsletter (yes, you will need to print a few copies of your online newsletter), brochure, application form, list of 10 reasons to join the group, etc.
Introduce & Welcome Guests During the Meeting. This is also a good time to elicit more information from them — where did you hear about the group (so you can target more PR), what kind of a computer do they use, what do they use it for, etc.
Break Time. Designate members to talk with the guests during breaks. Nothing is worse than standing around not knowing anyone and not having anyone to talk with. The more friendly the atmosphere the more likely they will return.
Special Guest Drawing. Have a drawing especially for guests – t-shirt, computer cleaner, etc.
Newsletter. Send the newsletter for the next 2 months.
Meeting Notices. Send meeting notices via e-mail.
Membership Card. Provide a membership card; solicit local vendors who will give members discounts on computer-related merchandise.
Badges. Encourage all members to wear their badges at the meetings. Use a different color paper, ink, etc. to identify Board members. Put ‘A member since XXXX,’ Greeter, HELP Line Volunteer, etc. on the badge so everyone knows a little bit about who they are talking with or who to turn to if they have a question. Have the badges turned in at the end of the meeting for a special drawing.
New Member Packets. Solicit items from vendors to be included in a New Member Packet (t-shirts, pens, local Adult Ed brochure, list of HELP Line Volunteers, CD-ROM with club information [history, list of SIGs, Officers, by-laws, past newsletters, software review guidelines, overview of a meeting, list of items in the lending library, information about APCUG, etc.], eval/demo CDs, Smart Computing magazine & subscription form, book from O’Reilly or Peachpit .... whatever you can find that is computer related.) Check out your local computer stores for ‘stuff.’ The APCUG annual conference and regional conferences are a good resource for these types of goodies. Have the packets available at the meeting to give to new members when they are introduced.
Mentors. Provide new members with a mentor who can help them with information about the group, SIG meeting times & locations, etc. Some mentors might also be willing to help new novice members with computer-related problems.