How did your MG group recruit you? Or what prompted you to contact them? I'm interested in what recruitment strategies are most successful in non-urban areas.
Pardon me for answering when I'm more suburban than "non-urban" and have been a MG for many years but our method seems to be very successful and might be adapted to your situation.
We hold a Master Gardener Open House in the fall for anyone interested in joining the group. It is put on by the Extension office and current MGs and advertised well in local papers and other media. We have tables set up throughout a large room with a MG stationed at each. There are nice posters (trifold) at each table with literature describing the areas of volunteer work we do. The MG at the table is experienced in that particular feature of the program and can talk to the public about it. We bring refreshments for everybody to enjoy as well. So far, it has been a big hit and we are getting more people interested in becoming Master Gardeners than ever before.
(They didn't exactly recruit me. I called the office for help with an issue and was so impressed by the MGs that helped me that I looked into the program and was hooked!)
That's exactly what I am looking for. Thanks, Sandy. Just curious: how do you pay for the advertising? This is a huge stumbling block; we are confined to posts in hort society newsletters, etc.
Local newspapers are usually happy to do public service articles about non profit activities,FREE. Al
Yes, we have local papers that give free advertising for such as this. The Extension website and the county website both have calendars we can use. Library bulletin boards also work. Plus, the Master Gardeners themselves are very vocal about the program and tend to invite people they meet to join in. And it never hurts to approach the local media with potential story material for them. One of our smaller weekly papers is planning to do an article on the MG program and the Open House should be a part of that.
Hi Sandy, I saw you are from VA. I live in Alexandria and have been trying to get into the MG program here in Arlington/Alexandria for two years. They keep changing when they do the classes and I miss them. Any advice?
Word of mouth really. I heard of someone taking the course and it sounded like something that I would like to do. So I investigated it on the web. I'm about 2/3rds of the way through my initial course right now and am loving it. BTW, there are 45 students in my class right now and this is for Eastern and Central Massachusetts. Western Mass and Cape Cod have their own separate organizations.
LizzaNVA, I'm sorry I didn't see your question sooner but I haven't been visiting this site often lately due to other obligations. I suggest that you call the extension office in your county and ask them when the next classes are scheduled and how you can sign up to take the course. If they don't know yet, mark your calendar to call them every few weeks until you do get a schedule.