Meetings are a great way to engage both your current members, and bring new members to join your group. Public meetings are also an excellent way to broaden your reach into your community, and to engage people in the debate surrounding the upcoming referendum.
Types of meeting
A public meeting can take many forms- debate, information session, coffee morning, etc. When having a public meeting you should try and double it up as a recruitment drive, and have a place where people can get information about the campaign and also sign up to get involved with your group. If you are having a public meeting, and any member of the public is welcome, be sure to advertise it as such.
You may run an event which is focused solely on recruitment and signing up new volunteers to the campaign. Make sure you have plenty of information to hand, and can inform interested people about what they are signing up to.
There is going to be lots of training events happening in the run up to the referendum, and you may decide you want to run your own training event. Ensure people beforehand know exactly what the training session will be covering and who it is targeted towards. Reach out to the Coalition for support in running any training events you have planned.
In house meeting
In order too run an effective campaign, you will need to have in-house meetings to keep your campaign running smoothly. These are good for checking in with your volunteers and members, assigning tasks, and strategic planning for the campaign. Every minute of volunteer times is valuable so ensure these meetings are run on a tight schedule and that you have a clear list of tasks and action points to be circulated after the meeting.
Before the meeting
People need to know the meeting is happening! You will need to use a variety of tactics to get the word out there- posters, flyering, emails and local media. Some of these will work better than others and you will know what will be most effective in your locality. Don’t rely on one method of informing people about your meeting or else you will miss a whole cohort of people. For an in-house meeting, make sure the agenda is circulated in advance.
Have your meeting in an easily accessible location. If it is a public meeting, list the full address clearly on any promotional materials (posters, flyers, online). If the meeting is private or closed, ensure all invited attendees know exactly where the meeting is on, and send directions if it is hard to find. Ensure your meeting venue has capacity to hold everyone, and that it is accessible via ramps or a lift if there are stairs.
During the meeting
Every meeting should have an agenda. For a public meeting, only person who may see the agenda is the Chair, but it is still important to have a clear idea of how the meeting will run. For an in-house meeting, it is important to stick to the agenda and keep things moving swiftly along. It is advisable to ask everyone to leave their politics at the door. The referendum campaign will be made up of people from every walk of life, and many people who do not have a party or political affiliation. Be mindful of this when running a meeting, and always strive to have a space where all interested people are welcome to participate.
Every meeting needs a chair. Ideally, you would have the same Chair for each meeting as this ensures accountability, consistency and structure. The job of the Chair is to steer the meeting, keep to the agenda, and to ensure everyone is heard fairly. For a public meeting, the Chair needs to introduce and close the event, manage the room, and keep things moving along in a timely manner.
For each meeting you need a secretary to record the minutes and to take note of any decisions made (they should be short and not a full transcript!). Most importantly, a clear list of actions points and tasks allocated should be included in the minutes- otherwise you will struggle to keep track of activities and responsibilities. These should be circulated after the meeting and referred to at the start of your next meeting.
Time-keeping: a long meeting doesn’t always mean it is a good meeting!
After the meeting
If new people signed up at the meeting, be sure to send an email of thanks and welcome. Send out the minutes in a timely manner. If any decisions are made or if there is any follow up required, get it completed quickly. Follow up with people who were assigned tasks. Send notice of the next meeting (time, locations mad date!) quickly.