How to create a successful local group
How to create a local chapter of Ukraine Defense Support
This guide is intended for individuals who support Ukraine and want to build a local team to support their efforts to help Ukraine win the war. A group of people is usually much more effective than a single individual.
Much of this advice will be based upon former Ukrainian soldier Carl “Grinch” Larson’s experience creating the Ukraine Defense Support (UDS) organization in Seattle. We will use the UDS name in this document but feel free to call your local group whatever you want.
The secret sauce to building a team is meetings. If you don’t have millions of dollars, then you have to “pay” to build the group with time. Time to meet people and build trust with them. Weekly meetings are the typical schedule. Best to meet at a Ukrainian restaurant or community center but anywhere will work.
Pick a location and evening that should work most of the time, for most attendees. Try not to change either.
At your meetings, make sure to collect new attendee’s phone numbers. Few people check their emails nowadays. It’s critical to get phone numbers.
The first few meetings will likely be chaotic and unstructured, but eventually you will want to define your goals, key organizers, upcoming pro-UA events to attend, etc. Create an agenda beforehand and send out a recap afterwards. We can help you draft up both.
Identify who will be the group’s leader (likely but not necessarily you), the Social Media team, who will be in charge of lobbying, contacting news media, etc. They all should report progress each week.
There are many ways to promote your events
- Contact local UA community. Invite the top people for coffee or lunch. Attend any pro-UA events, maybe in Legionaire uniform.
- Carl’s contacts – I have a number of contacts such as Ukrainian Honorary Consuls that can help.
- Churches – any UA churches nearby should help
- Local media – local news might mention your events
- Social media – post your group events anywhere local people could see it. Let Carl know if you need any help creating/managing social media accounts.
- Libraries, community centers, etc
- Facebook Ads
- Website page – Established groups can create a chapter page with official email accounts on the website. So for example https://ukrainedefensesupport.org/chapters/boston/