We Are Not a Club
We are not a club.... we are not looking for club members.
Or.... now you started your chapter.... what next?
As this question has come up quite a bit I felt that I would try to address it. Actually, it is probably one of the most asked questions.
This information is for the local town and city chapters. These are the only chapters where real “activity” and community involvement can take place. Where people can actually show up on a weekend and stand by a table with other members and talk to people on the street. A Provincial or State chapter will have little to zero effect or “participation” activity in the massive amounts of community events that happen on an ongoing basis throughout these vast areas that make up a province or state.
Also, a lot of organizing goes into setting up an event in any given town. As each province or state has dozens of possible towns and cities all with their own community events, fairs and festivals throughout the year, logistically it’s silly to even assume that a “Provincial” chapter could have any effect in this model. But the town and city chapters can play a massive roll in being an active and highly visible chapter within their local community. For example, British Columbia or Ontario cannot participate in community events. So there is no need to have a “British Columbia” or “Ontario” chapter other than to duplicate the same information. That would be inefficient and unproductive. But a Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg or Toronto chapter is where the real “people” activity can take place and this is where focus needs to be directed.
So...... you have seen the movies and you want to be part of the solution - to make a real difference. So you take on the massive task of starting a local chapter within your community. You have your website and you are ready to take off and change the world.
So here is the question......
How do I build up my chapter and how do I get active members and how do I motivate my members to do anything? (That is actually three questions, but they all fall under the same theme).
The short quick answer is.... you don’t.
You don’t even try.
The Zeitgeist Movement is not a club. It is a campaign of massive worldwide awareness.
What creating a local community chapter does (and what it does very effectively) is it brings the movement into the backyards of the mass populations of people that watched the movies and felt a connection with the message that these movies conveyed. This is very important. Your chapter takes this massive message of hope OFF the worldwide internet and the movie screens and it brings it directly to the people. It becomes a message that everyone can participate in and be a part of. Everyone can feel the connection and get involved at whatever level they choose.
The second important fact about your local community chapter is that it will be a gauge as to the worldwide growth of the Zeitgeist Movement. This is very important. As these local community chapters expand, so will the message and the excitement. As people around the world continue to see the movement’s growth they will be eager to learn more and to, as well, become involved with these ideas. These local community chapters give the whole movement strength.
Some have asked.... “Maybe I am not in a big enough location to have a chapter”?
This is absolutely not true. Chapters are needed EVERYWHERE.
If you live in a town of 1200 people (or less) and you are so versed and motivated by the tenets of the movement, then you need to start a chapter. Again, that will show that the movement is everywhere. And that people in ALL locations are moved to take action. Every corner in every country and every small town need not be left out. The Zeitgeist Movement is not only for the big cities or the trendy crowd or the wealthy or the poor. It is for all those that see it.
Your job with your chapter is to simply be there. Be there as a community presence. Become a part of your community. Set up a table at a small community fair or at a large weekend outdoor music festival and every event in between. This is what makes you a local community Zeitgeist chapter.
Also, be there for those that just need to talk. Many after seeing the movies for the first time will feel a strong desire to communicate with others that share their enthusiasm and new world views (Their new outlook on life). As wonderful as the internet is with handling communication and ideas, nothing comes close to face-to-face contact - real conversation among new friends that share the same ideas, hopes and passions. As a chapter, you need to be there. These people, with their excitement and new found knowledge or “awareness” of the way the system works might not always show up to every meeting or event and many might only ever show up once or twice, but that’s ok. The Zeitgeist Movement is not about meeting attendance.
The Zeitgeist Movement is a massive awareness campaign to try to present the public at large with an alternative to the current system.
The way we gauge if this message is getting through is by the growth of the new chapters starting up and then a secondary way (albeit not mathematically sound) by the number of “members” that each chapter has and its membership growth.
Now I want to clarify the term “member”. A local chapter member will be someone that has signed up to their local community chapter. If a chapter has 50 or 100 or 250 “members”, these are simply people that have signed up to your chapter website. These are your sign-ups. These people don’t need to attend meetings or be on every chapter call or even participate in anyway, if they don't want to. If this is your goal then it will quickly become very discouraging as many, if not most “members” will never participate at these levels.
What is the most important aspect of these individuals, these “members” or sign-ups, is that they saw the movies or the lectures and they felt so connected to the message that they “signed up” and became a “member”. That is success. These sign-up numbers are our gauge of success.
There will be two major groups that will make up your chapter. Your members or sign ups and your “core” team.
I would not worry too much about your membership or your sign-ups as this is not your main focus. It is your core team that will become the back bone of your chapter. This is the team that will make the local community chapter come alive and work to become a highly visible presence within your community.
What is a “core” team? Well, it is “you” initially, and it will become a group of all the key members who join your chapter and feel the need to take action, and make a strong commitment to building a community presence.
Ideally a core team will consist of two to seven individuals that will bring their talents and strengths to the chapter. But understand that a “core” team cannot get too large as it loses its efficiency at a point. Most members that join your chapter will never participate at these levels. For mid-level involvement, there is always need for volunteers to help with certain events and activities.
The main reason that we don’t want to act like a club or have “club” members is simply that awareness is constant growth; whereas “clubs” and “club memberships” are up and down. “Up” being positive growth and “down” being negative growth. If you run your chapter with a “club” or "membership participation" mentality you will face “negative” growth and become disappointed and disheartened. This benefits no one.
When you have meetings with big turnouts at the beginning and then these same people fail to come out and be a part of future meetings this (from a "club" perspective) can be disappointing. Again, this should not be the goal of the local community chapter. ALL your members or “sign-ups”, regardless of their involvement, are members of your chapter because they understand the ideas and felt a desire to connect with the local chapter. They are “aware”. And that is our sole goal at this point... simply creating massive awareness.
In Vancouver we started our chapter officially on Z Day 2009. (Almost a year ago) Since then we have had very few “actual” get-together meeting which was open to all members or the public.
But these meetings were never our goal to start with. And still is not. We have been out on the street almost every weekend since day one. Our real goal was to get the message out in the biggest way possible. This was best achieved on the street and at community events and festivals.
Some have mentioned that attendance to their weekly or monthly chapter meetings is low and that they can’t seem to get people out. The truth is most individuals don’t want to come to meetings. They are busy with life and family and simply adding more “meetings” to their personal agendas is not what they were looking to do when they signed up to your local chapter. They are “aware” and that is the most important step for humanity to move forward. Personal awareness and personal action. They signed up because they watched the movies and they agreed with the message.
In Vancouver our chapter has never been disappointed in meeting turnouts because every “street” event gets better and better and our confidence and abilities on the street or at these events in dealing with the public continues to grow. These are our “real” meetings. Our membership continues to grow with new “sign-ups”. With new people that are aware. Our public “street action” is the visible presence to the public that the Zeitgeist Movement is not just an internet phenomenon, but is a real live organization of individuals that are working to spread the message of change throughout the world. Our big tent in the most crowded area of downtown Vancouver resonates with the masses that have seen the movies and it elicits positive curiosity from those that have not yet seen the movies.
The main point that I want to make is, don’t try to force membership activity. Don’t look (or make a goal) to “increase” your member activity in the same fashion or rate that your “sign ups” occur. This will never happen. Don’t feel that if you have 25 people signed up, that 25 people will make the weekly meeting, and as your group grows to 125 people, don’t feel that 125 people will turn out for your weekly meeting. We are not a club and we are not looking for club members. We are a gauge of awareness - that is it (at this point).
Your goal is to create a strong and committed core group and then seek out every opportunity to create a visible community presence within your local community.
In Vancouver we have SEVEN core Z members, FIVE since day one, two which joined our core about six months later. We meet every two weeks to discuss our upcoming events. These are not 'open meetings', as that would get too chaotic, they are quick meetings between members who are committed and working together to plan events.
We have events at least once a month and into the better, warmer months we have events pretty much weekly. We use any opportunity we can to get out and engage the public. This street action or community event(s) and the large festivals that we have attended this past year, these are our meeting places. And chapter “members” that show up to these events are joined by hundreds and at times thousands of individuals which are all part of these events.
This is very motivating for everyone involved! We usually get a few “members” that will show up and help with our table and just want to be a part of the action. But we also get so many more people that walk up to our booth and tell us how they saw the movie and are so glad to see us on the street in their community. Our booth and visible presence make it all so real in their eyes.
We also love to engage so many that stop by our booth and ask... “What is Zeitgeist”? And as they leave with a DVD in hand we have accomplished our true goal of spreading awareness. Not weekly meetings or membership numbers.
We post these events on our website events page and if our “members” or “sign-ups” wish, then they can join us on the street and share in "their" chapter's street action. This is where we want people to join us.
We are on the street or at a community event as often as possible. Our only "goal" is to engage the public and be a visual presence. We want to get the word "Zeitgeist" out there.
Often our "members" will show up to their local Zeitgeist chapter's street event and are excited to just be a part of the action. Sometimes we have 3 or 4 people show up and help our core team talk with the masses and sometimes we have over 20 people show up and join the core team for the day and there is a great energy on the street or festival or community event. These "local members" that join the core on the street for the day or part of the day are now part of the action of their local chapter. Some engage the public in conversation and some just want to be there and take it all in and talk with other members about Zeitgeist.
That is pretty much it though. No requirement to attend meetings, no obligations etc. This... (Constantly attending meetings) you will find will become very discouraging and hard to maintain as a chapter grows. I realize that when a chapter starts up its first instinct is to hold meetings with the hopes that each meeting will grow. The true goal of a chapter should be to set up a core team and plan “awareness” campaigns over the course of the year. As you generate “Members” or “sign-ups” to your local site these sign-ups will simply be a “gauge” as to the awareness created in your local area.
These “sign-ups” or new “members” to your website are not individuals that want to attend meetings (for the most part), they are in fact simply individuals that agree with the information presented by the movement and wish to show their personal support by signing up. That’s it. So stop bugging them. If they want to participate then they will let you know. In fact you won't be able to get rid of them and they will become part of your core team. But this is rare, please keep that in mind.
In Vancouver holding meetings was never part of our plan. We figured that if they already signed up to our website it was because agreed with the information presented. These types of people did not need another screening. Our goal from day one was to reach the people on the street that had not heard of Zeitgeist yet. We then will invite these new sign-ups or “members” to join us on the street or at a community event or large festival if they want to. But we have the street crowds in the many hundreds and at some events such as Davie Day where over 50 thousand came out throughout the day.... these are our real meetings. On the street dealing with the public masses we found that some had heard of the movies and were excited to see us in their town and still many, many more had not heard of the movies and were very excited to take home a copy of the DVD. So our "meetings" are always a success!
One thing that we always find interesting is when someone will walk up to our booth with big eyes and arms flailing and they shout out..... “Oh my god, you guys rock! You guys are so awesome! I totally support you and your movie!! I am so glad to see you here!! Oh my god!!! I love you guys!”........ Then this individual will turn to his or her friends and say...... “This is the movie I told you about, you have GOT to watch it! It is so AWESOME!!!” Our inevitable question to this individual and accompanying group will then be..... “Have you seen the second movie?” It is always so hilarious. Like clockwork, their mouths drop open and their eyes widen and the return reply comes back to us..... “There’s a second movie?” After a bit of conversation they walk away, very excited with the “second” (and now the third!) movie. Every single outing this will happen numerous times.
We finally held our FIRST general meeting just a few weeks ago, (nine months after forming our chapter) due to the constant requests from so many individuals that wanted to attend an actual "meeting". Instead of having a few different members or “sign ups” attend regular meetings sporadically.... we decided that we would hold ONE "open public meeting". As these meetings don't happen regularly, we expected a great turnout and we were blown away with the results. We booked a large room, provided healthy snacks and set up a power point presentation and held a Q and A. This was a huge success. We had upwards of 100 people show up, the room was bursting packed and the meeting, from 12 noon to 4 pm, was a complete, high energy success. This is what the "local members" need to see. Getting these people together occasionally to "meet up" and be a part of a large meeting benefits everyone. These "members" would get board very quickly if we tried to do this every week or even monthly.
OUR FIRST GENERAL MEETING
We have decided to hold 3 or 4 of these "general meetings" throughout the year. This will include the Z-Day event as well. Otherwise, if people want to be a part of the local movement then they are welcomed and encouraged to join us at our many community and gallery street action events.
But in the end it is just the core members that meet every two weeks and plan the strategy for our street action.
THIS IS WHERE WE WANT MEMBERS TO JOIN US... ON THE STREET! ALMOST WEEKLY YOU WILL FIND US HERE. THESE POSITIVE EVENTS BRING SMILES TO EVERYONE THAT SHOWS UP!
I would suggest that as a chapter you establish a "core" that would consist of at least TWO members to start with that can work together to plan the events; to seek out event opportunities; to discuss ways to spread awareness within your community.
For instance it is much more effective for 2 or 3 people to plan a Z Day event and THEN invite chapter members to come out to enjoy the event day then to try to get all the members out to plan the event.
Most members, simply by their action of signing up to your website, are showing their support. They don't (or can't) always want to participate in every meeting. But they will show up to larger, less often run events. And that is fine.
I have had a number of people that have expressed this same concern, that is, "How do I get people out" and I really wanted to address it as I believe that it is important to attack this issue the right way. Basically you don't. Just get you and your "core" members out on the street every week talking to people. That's all you need to worry about. It will ALWAYS be busy and fun out on the street. And you will always end the day with a smile on your face from all the great positive feedback that you will get from the public. And from this street action your "members" on your website will grow in numbers. And some new members will want to join you occasionally on the street and that's great! But whether members come out or not, it is not what will make your chapter an active chapter. It is your own actions that will make you an active city chapter.
When we started growing and just after Z-Day in 2009 we had this same situation.
People would email us to find out where the local meetings are and we would invite them and they would come once and never again. Yet they would "voice" their thoughts about things like T-Shirt designs, and what types of events we should attend. So we would take meeting minutes and then lose their input as they would not show up for the next meeting/s. We quickly learned that "drop-bys" would be very ineffective to the group. It is not consistent and leads to confusion. We were much more effective as a small core group. And we were a group of FIVE until TWO individuals early on, that showed incredible dedication and commitment by showing up at every single event we held, they stayed ALL day and had complete and total knowledge of the movement and a resource based economy.... these two as well, then joined the core.
As for our "membership" growth.... that is exactly what it is.... a sign of growth and awareness.
But whether you have a chapter with 10 members or 500 members, they cannot possibly all be part of the "core". It would never work and would be more negative than positive towards chapter growth. Too many people bringing in their "outside" ideas about "Illuminati, chem trails" etc.
On that point... also make sure that the members that you decide to join with, as the "core", are dedicated to the very fundamentals of the Zeitgeist Movement. If everyone is on board with the basics then it will be smooth sailing.
So.... if it is just ONE person, (being "YOU") then make it a first goal to find just ONE more dedicated person and there is your initial core. That is all it takes.
Then, with your "core" start planning some events and post these on your website and then invite others to come out and "volunteer" and just be a part of the day. You will always have a few that will come out and combining this with the public crowds you will have a very effective (and very fun) event. Talking all day long about Zeitgeist to some very inquisitive and open ears and perhaps sending them home with a DVD.
This takes the burden off the chapters to always try to get "members" out to each meeting.
All we are trying to do is spread awareness. And our "effectiveness" will be shown in our "sign ups" on our websites. But we don't need all these "sign ups" to attend all the meetings. But hopefully they will just share the DVD with their families and work place associates.
Also, just the knowledge that your local chapter exists gives these members (the sign ups) strength of connection in a negative world. That is what our chapters are all about..... making it real and taking it off the computer and into the backyards of every city and town.
Our goal as a core is to get out to the people on the street and talk about Zeitgeist - To be a visible presence. If other members care to join us then that is awesome!
Two main reasons for local chapters:
1) They are a community presence
2) They are a gauge of worldwide growth
What can people do when they get involved?
1) Join their local chapter and support their local chapter by coming out to "community" events.
2) Pass out copies of the Addendum and Moving Forward to everyone they know.
3) Stop shopping. Educate and change your personal daily life system. The system that you were born into.... The system you disagree with.... the system you want to change. Start making personal change. We must be the change we want to see in the world. Mohandas Gandhi
For more chapter development articles please go here: http://www.zeitgeist-canada.com/