How to get good enrolments
Basically explore all avenues, and this means utilising local knowledge and prior experiences from other Living Smart facilitators. If you are having issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch as asking for assistance.
The vast majority of enrolments come from word of mouth from previous Living Smart participants. Stories in the local newspaper featuring a participant are useful, whereas council paid ads, letterbox drops and websites are not as effective.
If the course is running in an area where you’re not a local with good community connections, you need to find someone who is. Council officers can be a good help, though they often are not locals either, but have connections with local groups and existing community databases. Find out where to leave flyers, stick up posters and how to get a story in the local paper that locals read.
Ideas that have been successful in the past include finding a local café that has a community notice board and calling a few groups to ask about locals who are well connected and may have ideas. Hand delivering fliers (that do not look like an official flier) can be a good way to spread the word. Slots on local radio can be effective in generating participants and interest.
Here is a sample poster from Megan and Lindsay
And another one from Michele and Jasmine Flyer WGV Course
How to keep people coming along
Numbers can fluctuate with interest in topics, weather, public holidays etc. Don’t get despondent. There are a range of things you can do.
- When planning the course, avoid having a week break due to public holidays. Numbers evidently drop as a habit is broken.
- Consider a field trip midway through the course to bond the group, rather than (or in addition to) one at the end of the course.
- Choose a few enticing guest speakers scattered across the start and end. These may be popular locals or role models with a good story.
- Understand that topics like transport and health may be perceived as less interesting so look at how to make them more appealing eg electric bicycle on show, a film, a make-your-own demonstration
- If a difficult/negative participant seems to be detering others, you’ll need to speak to him/her outside the session to query their communication.
- A mid-week communication with interesting links and encouragement can make a big difference.
- Ask people to let you know if they are not going to be able to make it one week, then announce those who have apologised. It means the group “remembers them” and encourages a feeling of accountability to the group.
- Call people to check if they are still wanting to come along if they did not turn up in week one or two. If they came week one and not week two just check if they were happy with how week one went.
- Allow people to bring a friend after the first week (but not after that as your group will be starting to bond) This can boost your numbers.
Here’s some more ideas from Alex facilitating a course in Hilton 2011 with some useful lessons: We had 32 people register, 4 never made it. The first week was 26 and from then it was between 15 and 22. We were aiming to have 30 turning up each week and would have put more effort into promotion if we knew that not all of them would turn up. Another course I hosted also had about 30 registered. This never had more than 20 turn up and dwindled down to 7 in the last week. The things that we tried to keep people coming were: mid week email to remind them of what they learned and highlight anything that they needed to bring/prepare for the next sessionsharing their goals with buddies. This could have worked both ways though, with possibly some people choosing not to come if they hadn’t managed to finish their goal?