As Nanny Support Group leaders, you struggle with the day to day challenges of making your group succeed in today’s industry. Whether you have an online group or meet in person, you want to reach as many nannies as possible in your area. What do you offer, what resources are available, how can you increase membership, operating funds, participation? I’ve worked with nanny groups for most of my 21 years as a nanny, and am the current president of ADCAN – Association of DC Area Nannies. ADCAN is the longest running nanny support group in the country and many of the examples I’ll use in this series, I use directly with ADCAN.
First, what type of group best fits you and your area?
If you already have a group or looking to start one, you need to determine what type of group best fits you and your area best.
• Online groups such as yahoo or Ning are great for keeping in touch, sharing ideas and events, and coordinating outings.
• In Person groups meet on a regular basis either as a playgroup, monthly meeting, and discussion groups.
• Social groups meet for dinner, activities, movies, playgroups
• Educational groups provide speakers, workshops and discussion on matters of personal and professional development.
• Or combine a bit of all types into your area group.
Now, how do you target the nannies in your area?
• The internet is your best friend. There are so many low cost / no cost resources out there you can take advantage of.
• Word of mouth – tell everyone you know about your group and to pass that information along to any nannies they know.
• Create a postcard, flier, brochure and /or business card with your group information. For these types of products, I LOVE VistaPrint. Most products are FREE; you just pay shipping and handling. More on VistaPrint will be in parts 3, 4 and 6.
• Buy a domain name of your group name. For this, I recommend GoDaddy.com.
• Create a website. There are free website services out there, low cost services and one that I have noticed many nanny groups doing, which are FREE is blogs. Blogger and WordPress are the two most popular. It can be as simple as who, what, where, when, and why, or include links, resources, calendar of events, members only, marketplace, etc. We’ll get into these items in more detail in part two of this series. I’ll go more in-depth on websites in part 2.
• Contact Nanny Agencies in your area and let them know about your group. Invite them to a meeting, include them in mailings, and ask them to share your information with their nannies. Get them involved! Invite them to sponsor a nanny night out, put out information at your meetings, and ask them to write an article for your newsletter (if you have one). Build relationships with the agencies so you stay on their radar and they continue to share your info with the nannies they place.
• Get noticed! Don’t have a logo? Create one. There are logo services out there or you can utilize online photo shops or clip art to create a look for your group. Even better if you know someone who can create a logo for you, take advantage of networking. Your logo should draw people to you, stand out, and when people see it, they associate it with your group. Once you have your logo, put it on your business card, postcard, flier, website/blog, etc. Go a step further and create some merchandise – journal, t-shirt, tote bag, etc., that you can wear or carry with you and get you noticed.
• Social Networking! Get your group out there on Facebook. Post events, industry news, area happenings, etc., and draw people to you. Again, tell all your friends, and have them tell their friends, and so on and so on. Before you know, you’ll have a loyal following that will help in getting your information to your community. More on social networking will be covered in part 3.
Other ways you can reach out to your nanny community:
• Post messages on local parent message boards and Nanny Group listings and Craigslist.
• Try Meetups.com. Connect with other nannies and area events and get your name out there as a contact for other nannies.
• If there are agencies in your area doing trainings, ask to come to the event and introduce your group. Bring information to pass share with others.
• Always have business cards, postcards or membership material handy to give out to nannies or parents you meet. You never know when you’ll run into potential members.
• Host an event in your area. It can be a play date at the park, brunch, cookie exchange during the holidays, meet and greet at a local restaurant.
So, much to think about, start planning and implementing. Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll continue to discuss Websites, Newsletters & Communication, Fundraising Options, Membership and Membership Options, Promotional Items and Ways to Cut Costs.