How to Recruit Members of Your Support Group

Sections of this topic

    (This page is referenced from Start a Virtual Support Group to Help With Stresses of COVID-19.)

    To recruit two to four people to fill out your group, here are a variety of approaches and sources for you to consider. Of course, the approach that you use will depend on the nature of whom you approach.

    Common Approach Is to Gather Current Acquaintances

    Ask two or three friends to look at the website Start a Virtual Support Group to Help With Stresses of COVID-19. Then schedule a phone call among all of you. In the call:

    1. Share what you thought about it.
    2. Discuss the benefits of the groups.
    3. Share the questions that you have.
    4. Suggest that you work together as a team in the steps to form your support group.
    5. Propose that you start with the steps to prepare yourselves as members of a support group.
    6. Schedule your next call to understand what progress you have made.
    7. Keep at it until you all have had at least two rounds through the Agenda for Support Groups on the Quick Reference tool.
    8. Then discuss whether you want to finish the next four meetings, as recommended.

    If You Approach New Acquaintances

    1. First Listen to Their COVID-19 Concerns

    Start by asking them:

    1. What impacts has the virus made on your life?
    2. What do you wish would happen?
    3. What do you need for that to happen?
    4. Would you benefit from some ongoing help and support with that?

    Then briefly mention the benefits of being in a support group. Clarify that the groups are just using the same kinds of help that good friends do with each other, but the groups are more focused and done virtually. Then let them ask questions. Don’t over-sell your suggestions.

    2. Then Clarify What People Will Work On In Your Group

    There are millions of people around the world who are concerned about the virus. Many of them want help, including to deal with the impacts of the virus on their personal lives. Many of their types of concerns are listed in the Types of Personal Concerns That People Have Regarding the Coronavirus.

    Send your prospective members to that web page or print out the list of concerns for them. Have them scan the list to see if their types of concerns are on it. Remind them that those are the kinds of concerns that your support group is for.

    3. Then Share a Personal Description of What Your Group Is About

    Suggest that they see the following short video at the top of the following web page and plan to contact them in a few days.

    4. Then Ask If They Will Join Your Group

    Now it is appropriate to ask if they have any further questions, and then if they will join your group or not. If they will, then have them sign the Coaching Agreement and provide it to you. Don’t be reluctant to guide them to making a decision either way. Members of a support group should be fully committed to participating.

    “As the founder and current co-organizer of the Lean In Together MSP Network,
    I am incredibly grateful that our Network has adopted the peer coaching circle model.
    Members count on these groups for both support and accountability.”
    – Linda Brandt

    Some Sources of Group Members

    Contact Individuals Directly

    You could reach out directly to people, including:

    1. Co-workers, especially those who have lost their jobs
    2. Members of organizations that you are affiliated with, for example, your gatherings, churches and associations
    3. Contacts in your email
    4. Contacts in your social media
    5. Neighbors in your neighborhood

    Partner With Other Organizations

    You could contact organizations providing services similar to the benefits that your support group will provide, for example:

    1. Hospitals
    2. Health-care organizations
    3. Employment services organizations

    Contact Professional Development Organizations

    Members of your groups will be learning valuable skills in starting and facilitating groups. So contact professional development organizations to provide your group as a service to its members, for example:

    1. Universities and colleges
    2. International Association of Facilitators (their local chapters)
    3. Organization Development Network (their local chapters)
    4. International Coach Federation (their local chapters)

    First photo: (c) 2005 JupiterImages Corporation/
    Second photo: Courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio on