Step 1: Recruit members to form a core leadership group.
The first step of launching a campaign is to create a core leadership team that will work together consistently to achieve a desired goal. You will need to recruit people to join your group and help you on this exciting journey!
As you recruit people for your first meeting:
- First, understand what are you recruiting for. Do you have a cause in mind already? Or do you prefer to brainstorm ideas first and select a cause together as a group?
- Then, start recruiting! Start with your close friends, but don't be afraid to talk to people in other classes, grades, and even schools and community organizations. Remember this: the best way to recruit is to have 1-1 conversations with lots of different types of people about why you both care.
- Whenever chatting with a potential team member, ask yourself these questions: Do they seem reliable? Motivated? Will they be engaged? Will they support the goals of the group?
- Get at least one person to commit to the campaign ASAP! That way you won't be alone in this journey going forward.
- Prioritize inclusivity and equity when you're recruiting — NEVER treat it as an afterthought. It's SO important to have an inclusive leadership team with diversity in terms of race, gender, socioeconomic status, ability, life experiences, and so on because diverse teams are more creative and effective. As long as someone expresses interest in your cause, there is no reason to not invite them to your first meeting. Sometimes, it might be hard to get your initial leadership team as diverse as you would like, but it's good to start thinking about it early on. An early focus on diversity is also important if you want to be intersectional in your activism. Please see the video below to learn more about intersectionality if that's a new term for you!
Need some more tips on how to get started? We got you covered!
How to be confident
- Make your passion known...passion often motivates other people to join!
- Remember not to take rejection personally. If your friends or other people you talk to aren’t really interested or too busy, don't dwell on it and move on! Who knows, they might be interested later once you have a campaign plan.
- Ignore the haters. Doing nothing won’t fix anything. Doing something is always worth trying.
How to cast a wide net
- Think about who would bring alternative views, diverse backgrounds, and skills such as writing, public speaking, event planning, etc.
- Ask everyone you talk to—classmates, teachers, staff—if they know any students who would be interested. Don’t be shy to talk to people you don’t know!
- Invite students from different grades. Reach out to a student in another grade and ask them to recruit one of their friends
- Create posters and flyers to post around the school. Or set up a table at school events (club fair, soccer games, etc).
- Approach after-school programs and youth-serving organizations in your community to see if they might have young people interested in joining your leadership team
- Social media can also be a great way to widen reach and recruit folks from diverse backgrounds. Just make sure to not rely on social media as your ONLY approach — again, the most effective way to recruit is to have 1-1 conversations with lots of different types of people about why you both care.
How to convince people who are on the fence
- Tell stories backed up by facts! Make the problem real for the other person so that they understand why it's so important.
- Ask them about their ideas. It's important to stay somewhat flexible with your plan so that others feel that their ideas matter, which helps them feel like they have a stake in the campaign.
- Say that you will be holding one meeting to brainstorm issues in your community and that there is no pressure to commit right away. Hopefully after that first meeting they will want to come back!
- If it helps, you can even talk about how partnering with the Youth Activism Project is a unique leadership opportunity for national recognition and access to other resources!! At the same time, though, avoid recruiting people who seem only interested to put this experience on their resume. These people tend to not last long!
Do you have other recruiting tips not covered here? Please share them in the comments below!