Local Group Activities
- One of the key purposes of local groups is to use them as a testing
ground for new outreach ideas. Here's a breakdown of what's been
happening and what is upcoming. Get involved in your local group
MATCHBOOK DISTRIBUTION TO SMOKERS
The San Francisco (NorCal) group is about to order approximately 12,000
matchbooks with the FSP logo and a short message appealing to smokers
tired of being treated like 2nd-class citizens. The cost for this
effort is fairly minimal -- about $120. As San Francisco has banned
smoking in all public and semi-public places, including bars and
restaurants, this segment may be productive. The matchbooks will be
distributed in bars that allow smoking in defiance of the ban and
smoking kiosks and rooms that serve businesses.
Timeframe: order should be completed by 1/15, received by 1/31,
distributed by 2/28, and evaluation of success by 4/15
LP CONVENTION OUTREACH
Sandy Pierre of the NorCal group is attempting to contact the
organizers of the spring LP conventions in all 50 states and work with
Phil Denisch, Speaker's Bureau Coordinator, in lining up speakers and
volunteers to work tables. In states where she is successful, she will
contact local group leaders, or, if there is none, the local group
email list, and try to line up volunteers. All expenses for speakers,
and substantial expenses for tables, will be reimbursed.
Timeframe: conventions are being scheduled now and will run throughout
the year. Evaluation at the end of the year.
The Mid-Atlantic Baltimore radio ads finished up at the end of 2004, at
a cost of about $2500. Approximately half of the cost was raised
through private sources, and the other half came from the FSP treasury.
I understand that no more than five signers to date can be credited to
the ads, a disappointing number. When I made the initial motion, I
indicated that I would consider fifteen signers to be a success, and
that benchmark was not achieved. There are two silver linings here:
1.) now we know more than we didn't know before -- radio advertising,
at least on a three-week basis to the conservative end of the spectrum,
isn't the best way to recruit, and 2.) thousands of people who didn't
know about the FSP before have heard of it now, and this may continue
to yield lingering benefits as these people give it more thought or
talk to their like-minded friends.
Final evaluation: results do not justify the expense.
The Mid-Atlantic group created two 9 x 15 banners to hang over the
busiest highway into downtown Baltimore on April 15th, 2004. The
banners read: "HONK IF YOU HATE TAXES. NO INCOME OR SALES TAX IN NH.
WWW.FREESTATEPROJECT.ORG" The total expense for the material for both
banners was just under $100, spent at Home Depot and Staples. Coffee
and donuts for volunteers cost an additional $8 or so. The banners
were up from seven am to four pm, and countless honks and thumbs-up
were received from drivers below and on the adjacent street. These
banners exposed the FSP to about 80,000 drivers on-site and thousands
of others when the banners were featured in a brief spot in that
evening's local TV news.
Final evaluation: No signers specifically noted the banners as a
referrer, but the huge mainstream exposure and positive feedback from
regular folks (even bus drivers!) was more than worth the minimal
expense. A great team exercise to remind ourselves that, at least
reflexively, we aren't in the minority after all.
The Mid-Atlantic group organized a sidewalk chalking in Baltimore's
Inner Harbor in September 2004. With a $10 bucket of colored chalk,
volunteers chalked pro-FSP messages on the sidewalk and handed out
fliers to interested passers-by. At one point the group was told to
move on by a police officer who said that a permit was required for
distributing fliers. Afterwards, pitchers of frozen margaritas were
consumed. At the next social event (a Baltimore crab feast) two
prospective participants indicated that the chalk was why they joined
the local email list.
Final evaluation: Two signers for $10 = high return on investment. A
lot of time was required, however.
LOCAL GROUPS NEEDED TO LEAD THE FOLLOWING EFFORTS
I'm looking for a local group to head up an effort to reach LP members
in a given state via direct mail. The group would ideally be in a
big-government state with a high number of libertarian-minded people,
such as Maryland, California, Washington, Oregon, or New Jersey. The
chosen group would be responsible for designing the piece, obtaining
the list, and addressing and mailing the final product. The mail piece
should consist of a double-sided three-page letter, introducing the
recipient to the Free State Project and providing a short list of what
New Hampshire has to offer libertarians. The piece is intended to
bring the FSP to pro-liberty individuals who may not have been reached
through our primary means of communication -- the internet.
Timeframe: <<This effort is on hold pending the results of a mailing to
MA libertarians by Jason and Kat, through means other than a local
group.>> The effort should take approximately sixty days to implement
and thirty days to evaluate.
A local group is needed to work with local anti-helmet motorcycle
groups, such as ABATE, and market the FSP to that particular segment.
The work would likely include the design and distribution of a targeted
shirt and/or patch to be worn in group rides ("I'm riding to freedom.
You should too!"), sending speakers to local meetings, etc. The chosen
group should contain at least one active FSP member who is a
motorcyclist involved in his local ABATE chapter, and should be located
in a state with a helmet law. In conjunction with this effort, a ride
to NH for June's Laconia Bike Week should be organized, to provide a
means for prospective signers to get to know the degree of freedom NH
Timeframe: This project should begin ASAP, and evaluated on a monthly
basis until the end of June. Contact the local groups coordinator to
Please contact me directly with any ideas you may have!