Flyers and Online Resources:We have a pre-formatted flyer and some postcard-sized photos available near the bottom of our Shop page, http://www.ErnieAndErica.info/shop .
Hosts of our workshops have general permission to use images from this website for workshop promotion. You may also use pictures from our online photo albums at http://picasaweb.google.com/eawisner and http://picasaweb.google.com/eritter.
Other useful pages:
Hosting a Hands-On Event
(includes generic parts list for rocket mass heaters, earthen ovens.)
Flyer Details:Whether you use our flyer templates, or create your own flyer, please be sure to include:
- The name of the event
- Dates (and times)
- General location
- Price (mention any discounts for early registration or large groups)
- Contact name, phone, and email or website for more information.
Make text at least 18 point, and allow some empty space around it so it's easy to read. Consider including tear-off strips at the bottom so people don't need to take down the whole poster to remember what it says. (They might say 'Fire Science Evening" and the phone number. Emails are optional; phone numbers are more reliable in print.)
If space allows, give a few juicy details about the event - a reason to be interested. For rocket mass heaters, this might be: "Find out how we heat our home with 1 cord of wood (compared to neighbors using 5 cords), and wake up warm every morning, using dirt-cheap materials. Hint: You won't see any smoke from our fire." You might also list the good meals, great location, famous people who will be there, etc.
Have your registration list ready in order to take people's information as they call (See below).
Getting the Word Out:- Start early. Repeat often.
Put flyers out as soon as dates and prices are settled - the sooner people know about it, the better. Mention it in conversations, on podcasts or radio interviews. As a general rule of thumb, plan at least a month of lead time, plus another month for every day the workshop is long. A 1-day event can be organized with a couple of month's planning; a 3-day weekend needs at least 4 months for best success. Allow a year if possible.
When you are thinking about heat in October, it's too late to plan a workshop for this year - but if you set dates now for next year, you have all winter to recruit chilly people who are thinking the exact same thing.
- Be Excited.
Let people know how excited you are, and encourage them to share. You don't need to sell anyone a ticket personally - just tell them how much fun you are looking forward to, or the great parties you will give when it's built, or how you will be using way less wood next winter. If you tell them why it excites you, they will share those details with other friends when they have a problem that your workshop can solve.
- Follow your Audience. Be creative.
Who likes workshops? You do. Start with anywhere you shop, hang out, or would go if yo were bored and looking for something to do. Talk to people, and think about people who would be interested for reasons different from yours. Affordable heat cuts across all walks of life. Here are some 'types' of people who might be interested, and ideas for where to reach them.
Locals make great guests because they arrive on time, well-rested, and may help you find local resources if needed.
Recruit awesome people by going where they go - shopping, hang-out spots, gossip grapevines. Tell the hairdresser. Some examples of places to reach awesome people:
Frugal people read the Nickel Ads or Craigslist.
Genius old farmers shop at feed stores and hardware stores, and sometimes the dump.
Sustainability-minded people might be hanging out at the co-op or community center, or anywhere with a 'green' flavor like the recycling center or trendy coffeeshops.
People who like to learn might be reading message boards at the library, Park & Rec, or community college - or attending private education centers and workshops.
Outdoorsy types (mud-tolerant and fit) shop for gear, at garden centers, visit state parks and campgrounds, bait and ammo shops.
Survivalists and canny old veterans read catalogs, buy tools and systems for home self-sufficiency and defense; and may volunteer for trained local support teams like volunteer firefighting, search and rescue, and first aid.
Transition Towners and other social activists might spend time at any of the above, plus city hall, the library, solidarity gatherings, churches, or volunteer activities.
Homesteaders and back-to-the-landers buy canning supplies, bulk foods, farm gear, and tend to pick up catalogs and local news rags or listen to local radio.
All of these are good places to attract local notice.
Don't forget the radio; people who live off-grid connect to the world through local news, talk radio, newsletters, and old magazines. Get a good, interesting interview or article in there, and people will ask around and find you.
Hobby and Social Groups:
Find people through relevant interests at online forums, Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Use any and all relevant communities to let people know you are excited. Do your best to drop the hint in the right place, like a forum where someone is looking for a cheaper woodstove. Don't spam the Stamp Collectors or other irrelevant groups; make a comment or connection that is truly relevant.
Other people follow their favorite topics with magazines, community newsletters, etc. Ask early and often if you can get a free mention, or a low-cost ad, in these sources - a letter to the editor, short article explaining why you are excited, or an ad that supports a local youth group or senior center will get you good local notice.
Some clubs or groups will put an advertisement or article out for a small fee, or even free if it's relevant to their readers. Others need an incentive; you can offer a discount for club members or co-op members; or set up an online registration to track traffic and offer 'finder's fees' to promoters. Being creative means finding all the free ones, and picking and choosing between the most cost-effective advertising to reach your audience.
Travelers and Explorers:
People who are looking for themselves, their piece of land, or a nice place to retire often love to come to hands-on workshops. Some will travel great distances to enjoy a new place and a new experience. They might have closer options, but busy calandars; or they might have connections nearby and use the excuse to visit.
Make sure to get the word out in big cities and on the internet. These guests can bring a great flavor of experience from other places and projects around the world.
Registration:With registration, get:
- Name (including others in party)
- Location (town or state)
- Two contacts (phone, email, cell or work phone)
- Deposit (pay by check, PayPal, or cash)
- Any special notes (e.g. Wants to build sauna. Retired HVAC installer.)
Collect the whole ticket price at least a week ahead for most events. This minimizes the amount of money left to handle during the event, helps cover event expenses like food or rent, and reduces last-minute cancellations.
If using an online registration site, it's simplest to create a separate page for any discounts, and take the entire amount at the time of registration.
Confirmation:Send a welcome letter, email, or make confirmation phone calls about 2-3 weeks prior to the event. The welcome letter should include:
- Directions to the event, with a map if possible
- Reminder of previous info: times, prices, refund policy, when/how to pay
- Packing lists or suggestions: weather updates, what to wear/bring, labeling any tools or notebooks, what food is provided / what is BYO.
- Any policies regarding pets, parking, alcohol / smoking, on-site camping.
- Any additional opportunities, especially those that take money or special gear, like buying books to take home, or going out for dinner afterwards.
- Any pre-course reading or websites for getting a head start.
- Any requests for info (e.g. dietary needs, allergies, carpool options)
- Contact information for responses.