Our third Circle Host Forum featured Ben Franklin Circles Consultant, Jasmine Nielsen, who has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector. She runs the Circle Host Facebook group and manages the Circle Host Profiles that we feature on our blog.
1. Set group norms: when you’re first starting out and setting the ground rules for your group, include a discussion about how your group will engage between meetings.
2. Choose the right communication platform for your group: options include email, closed Facebook groups, Slack, group text, or phone trees. Ask your group which channels would work from them and go from there. If people start on Facebook and them move to group text, allow for that. Do what’s natural and easy for the group.
3. Model the behavior you want to see: share articles, ask open-ended questions, be vulnerable/open. It may be quiet and awkward at first, but with time the group will pick up on your cues and participate.
4. Get your group members involved: give members a job, it could be as simple as asking for volunteers to bring snack, taking turns hosting or facilitating, asking members to bring ideas/quotes/articles. Franklin’s group invited members to present an original piece of writing – perhaps your group can highlight a different member each month?
Have fun: find opportunities to connect in a different way – a field trip, volunteer outing, dinner/drinks and allowing for lightness/humor when you communicate.
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