How Do You Start a Support Group?


Quick Answer

Start a support group by creating a goal; affiliating with a national group; finding a time and place to meet; deciding whether the group is open or closed; and picking a group leader, according to the Community Tool Box from the University of Kansas. Then, recruit members to your support group.

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Full Answer

Determine the group's purpose and the people you want to help, notes the Community Tool Box. Create a vision or mission statement to this end. If your support group already has a national organization with resources, find out what it takes to become affiliated with the organization. Adherence to a larger group's rules and resources brings your support group more credibility when you look for more members. Decide when and where your group will meet. For example, biweekly meetings in your home for two hours may suffice.

An open group means anyone can join the group at any time during the group's existence. Open groups also allow family and friends of group members to join, states the Community Tool Box. A closed group is available only at certain times and only for specific people. Selecting a group leader or facilitator is, perhaps, the most important decision to make when you start a support group. A group leader must have a flexible schedule, lots of energy, leadership skills, support from necessary resources and a desire to lead. After these foundations for your group are laid, recruit new members by word-of-mouth, social media, referrals, press releases and advertising.

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