- Connect with your state party. Find your state’s contact information here. Do a little research. Ask your state LP what steps they suggest you take to get an affiliate started. Talk to other party members who have started successful affiliates to learn about the legal requirements in your city or state. Attend some meetings of other local affiliates to observe how they run their group. This will give you ideas. They may even agree to come to your first few meetings to help you get things going.
- Get a list. Ask your state leadership for a list of people in your area who have expressed an interest in the party (they may be willing to contact them on your behalf). You may also want to get a list of the registered voters in your area.
- Recruit the “founders”. You can’t do this alone. Start by contacting other LP members in your area to find the most dedicated founders.
- Initial planning meeting. Have an initial planning meeting amongst the founders of your local affiliate (2-5 people).
- Make a timeline. At the meeting, brainstorm potential goals and create a timeline of the next 1-2 month of action items to start the affiliate.
- Secure your monthly meeting location. Find a local business, restaurant or other suitable location that will allow hosting regular public meetings. Many restaurants will allow you to use their meeting rooms at no extra charge if attendees purchase food.
- Get assistance from state party. Ask your state affiliate to advertise the creation of your affiliate through their distribution channels, including email, social media, their website blog and calendar.
- Give plenty of notice for first event. Plan your first kick off meeting at least 3 weeks in advance.
- Focus heavily on personal appeals to the list of Libertarians you received earlier. That means organizing a phone bank or calling remotely to turn out people to your first meetup.
- Promote the event. Use as many other avenues as possible to get the word out. At a low cost, you can print flyers, mail out post cards or letters, make phone calls, put an ad in the local print media, use social media or any combination of the above. You may be able to keep in touch with everyone simply by using your own personal email account at first.
- Collect contact information of attendees. Have sign-up sheets ready to get the contact information for everyone who shows up at your meetings, especially new people, and be sure to follow up.
- Make goals. At your initial meetings, solidify your goals and projects (with timelines) you will be focusing on. Without direction, your affiliate could fizzle fast.
- Recruit volunteers to fill mission-critical functions you need, such as recruiting or vetting candidates, outreach director, managing your list, and fundraising – ask them to volunteer a few hours a month of their time to help get things organized. Build a bench.
- Equip your affiliate with materials. Visit lpstore.org or contact your state party to get any materials you may want to hand out.
Establish an official communication channel to keep collaboration going in-between meetings. Slack is a recommend tool.
Be consistent. Hold meetings at the same place, day, and time every month.
Be patient. Know that it may take several meetings for the number of attendees to grow beyond the dedicated handful.
- Know local election law. Be sure to follow state law and local rules regarding election paperwork filings, fundraising, business meetings, and election of local officers.
- Focus on local issues where you can have an impact – you are a local affiliate after all! Attend city council meetings. Find open commission seats to give people real-world experience in government.
- It’s all about the campaigns. Nothing energizes an affiliate like a campaign, it’s the LP’s mission! Stay focused on recruiting and assisting candidates. Beware of organizational drift.