6 Ways to Build Your Libertarian Citizen Community

While each is a main focus per year, these ILEAP! activities should happen regularly. Check every quarter to decide where you need to catch up or pre-plan. Remember you’re there to facilitate cross-communication and synergy, not ‘make’ things happen beyond your personal projects. When in doubt, simply ask people to check out the social group.  If you give a good and pleasant impression they will join!

Always start by inviting people and especially actives or leaders to your group in this order. Repeat this every 1-3 years. Remember the materials do the work so keep a ‘light touch.’ Remember: this involves no money–neither solicit it nor spend it beyond incidentals such as your  lunch.

  1. Your family, friends and circle
  2. Their circles
  3. Anyone with an obvious Liberal-libertarian inclination or interest–exclude anyone who seems to be a mole or extremist
  4. Antiques and collectors such as coins or SF clubs. These people are very smart, open and well connected.
  5. Obvious affinity groups: LBGT, feminist, tax-reduction, urban gardens, ecological, sister city, Skeptics…
  6. Non-obvious: Rights groups, equality groups, public employee, unions of all kinds, etc…
  7. Volunteer groups: Mensa, Habitat for Humanity, help the animals, donors, etc.
  8. People active or leading  in local coalitions, parties and community betterment or neighborhood association  groups
  9. Clubs and local civic or discussion societies
  10. Local educators, recently graduated students, also people in freethinking, literary, media, booksellers
  11. Local celebrities and entertainers, artists
  12. People in local public office and candidates that appear to have some common ground
  13. Local professionals: doctors, attorneys, nurses, computer people…
  14. Local small business people especially anyone willing to give spoecial consideration to mentioning the club
  15. Public safety, firefighters,  and law enforcement
  16. All of their circles

These are some 50 groups. Get 6 people from each and you’ll just start growing with minimal tending and at a rate that does not overwhelm you. Appoint people with a proven interest as co-facilitators in their specialty–organizing conferences, a radio show, attending board meetings, giving science talks, hand-holding in basic civics, whatever…

Keep non-local people to 10% and favor those interested after a time in starting their own group. You don’t want curious lurkers cluttering up your numbers. Every time you get unhappy with growth just go down the list again or re-contact a few people and ask if they will urge friends or share your link. If you approach in a community of a million 5K of the local leaders you will have a powerful network. Also, many people will contact by e-mail or phone and just not join groups. keep them in the loop with annual or so mailings suggesting they look at a candidate or event, or check out the site. Keep it non-partisan though SMILE-oriented. Ask for their top issues every 1-3 years and let public officials know the results. Your aim is to build that to 20K households.

  1. Interpersonal: Use e-group functions to monthly invite people to recommend the group to friends, thank them on their birthday week for participation, and share their projects. Greet new people in the group. Encourage volunteer sharing and events info. You will have a formidable looking group as people just share their projects from radio shows to letter-writing campaigns. Encourage those interested to use windshield cards or pass out info door-to-door or at local; drops such as businesses, community bulletin boards, etc. –also keep posts on the SMILE line 4/5ths SMIL and 1/5th E Lib-oriented.If people really like something re-share it every year or so.
  2. Legislative: Join or invite communication teas or brunches among activists from different groups to share common ground and bring in their people. Be involved in events, take photos and post, and re-post participant photos. Attend board meetings and you’ll have the opportunity to be appointed to something or better influence what is going on. Always spread the  credit and thank everyone profusely.
  3. Educative. Focus on sharing SMILE books and links 1-2x a month and use public means to let people know of informal book and activist share coffees.If you’re a public speaker speak to other groups, host booths, or invite speakers. Make sure all have access on web to free materials to spread the word. Make sure to reach out to local students in particular and opinion leaders.  Keep presentations general and simple. The QUIZ is a good intro, as is the SMILE short reading lists. Speak at groups with open minded and leaderly people: Collector’s , public affairs, Mensa, Science, community betterment, etc. share the monthly reading and volunteer activity of the group (we suggest a self-directed clean-up or donor activity). As your documentation site grows, share the link with all local media and as many groups as you wish. If you can get an invitation to speak briefly to local high schoolers this can be very productive long term.
  4. Action Summit: Based on issue momentum host or help bring about brainstorms, coalitions, or community summits to set mid- to long-term goals on key issues where there is common ground. You are always the ‘voluntary ideas resource go-to’ and should feel no pressure to agree on anything but your focus. Make sure that focus is at least one of the options agreed on and go to it. Succeessful summits have been in election fairness, transparency, homeless, green issues, etc.
  5. Public Administration: Get familiar with local available and especially appointive public offices, get in one if possible so you can speak from experience, and have the list available at all meeting. Always  remind or encourage people to get involved or if they know someone. be specific: “You’re interested in foreign affairs and there’s a vacancy on the Sister City Board. can you attend some meetings?” etc. Listing local links if available or a written summary of non-partisan offices saves a lot of re-explaining. Periodically hold a mentoring coffee for all–it is irrelevant to us if they feel they’re libertarians as long as they get familiar with the approach. Direct serious people to  www.libertarian-program.org for self-training. Send the Quiz or group link to local officials and urge them to join. Let them know of common ground interests based on their political inclination but no behind the scenes meetings. A link to something like www.reason.org or the GOAL site goes a long way.
  6. Document Wins/catch up. Keep your sites current every few months and your e-social ones–Facebook, Yahoo, whatever– weekly. Greet the week’s birthdays, add links, and say something nice. Welcome new people. Never attack anyone but focus on positive results however minor. What needs to be done? Take a look every so often to see what must be caught up on. Remember to share info with us to guard against web catastrophes, etc. Have periodic award dinners where all are contacted and certificates of appreciation shared–or have an awards coffee after another event. Look at the Pinellas mother site for inspiration if things get slow or to train co-hosts. We went hog-wild, so you will probably have more than you need.

If there is a local Libertarian-liberal party be welcoming but stay (and keep everyone) strictly non-partisan–highlight participants equally who run for office or are in public office. You wil soon have a situation where several participants are seeking the same office so neutrality is key–urge those not elected to continue in some appointive office or community position. DO NOT run for elected office yourself.

As facilitator try to have an outreach/inreach event monthly to quarterly and attend  participant events every 1-2 months and greet /take pictures with those involved. Many activists simply forget to do that and will greatly appreciate your publicity. Make sure all community meetings are courteous, women/family/kid friendly. Tolerate no profanity or off behavior.  Troublemakers get one warning before de-friending. If needed, blame MG.

Keep all sub-groups–not only the user projects but the book club, activist club, etc–nominally separate at the least. Book and art people may not be civic people. Let each select what they enjoy. Do not make the 3 mistakes of tiring people to attend meetings just to attend meetings (your working meetings should be by phone or one-to-one with top people), failing to sign up the contact info of people at meetings and publicize their project (NOT support the group project, if any),  or trying to get everyone in one simple group.

You’ll likely grow quickly at first then settle to a steady pace. Keep track of numbers year to  year. If you’re adding a few hundred participants, getting people in 1-3 public offices, assisting in a summit project that gets results every 1-3 years, and all having a nice time, you’re doing more than ever in your locality.

Finally, train your successor and co-facilitators.

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