I'm just hoping to get some ideas from some of you on how to recruit more moms for a playgroup. Here are the details...I live in a smallish town (~15,000 ppl) and I have been driving about an hour to go to a playgroup that only meets about every two months. I want more mommy friends, and more friends closer. I'm hoping I will find some other crunchy mommas, but I live in a very mainstream area. I've been toying with the idea of making some sort of business type card with my name and number to pass out and help strike up a conversation about what I'm trying to do. Does that sound crazy? Just tell me...how would you take a mom you don't know coming up to you and inviting you to a playgroup? I've already got a few numbers from some ladies at my church who may be interested so I'll be calling them of course. Any other ideas on recruiting to make up a playgroup?
Starting a playgroup and approaching people
Is there a chapter of the Holistic Moms Network in your area? http://www.holisticmoms.org/
Starting up a playgroup is usually more successful (and less awkward when approaching strangers about it) when you have a specific theme or interest to pursue. There was a great article in Mothering mag a few years back about starting a storytime group in your home. Another idea is to offer a baby/toddler art class or music class at your church during the week. The book "Fun With Mommy and Me" by Nurik & Schonberger has an appendix that explains how to start up a Mommy & Me class in your area. Good luck!
I have started only one playgroup from the ground up and it was tough. Ours was based on a common interest that isn't super common, but is parenting related. We had 4 regular attendees, but couldn't branch out much more than that if we wanted to keep it to people going though the same thing.
So based on that, I'd recommend not making the "requirements" too strict, but do think about what you hope to accomplish with the group. Can you handle hanging out with moms that tend to parent more mainstream or are you hoping for other natural parenting/AP parents to connect with? I would start a Yahoo group for it so you can utilize the calendar and have everyone's basic info right there. I think business cards with the web address (and maybe your personal email/phone number?) would be good to carry around. If it were me, I would probably pass it out to people i had already connected with, however brief, rather than just give them to everyone.
And one of the most important things is to be consistent. If you say playgroup is from 10-2 at x playground every Monday, then you should be there every.single.week, barring any emergencies. You may sit by yourself a lot at the beginning, but eventually people will come, as long as they know someone else will be there.
Good luck and I hope you make some friends closer to your home!
I started a simple playgroup back when my DD was a baby, but it was easy because I got a list of moms with similar-aged kids from a new mom support group, and just emailed all the people who lived in my neighborhood with a date, time, and coffee shop location. The first meeting, everyone showed up on time, and the second time, not everyone did, and I hadn't realized they were late--I thought they weren't interested so I left. It's like a PP said, I should've hung around in the coffee shop the whole time.
After the group was meeting regularly, I had great fun recruiting other moms by striking up conversations with them about their kid, and then if I liked them (and their kid was the right age) I would say, "I'm part of a playgroup that meets regularly on Fridays...would you like to join us sometime?" Then I'd get their email info and include them in the playdate announcements. That was always a successful technique. Having a moms' night out where the adults meet at a restaurant occasionally helps cement mom friendships.
On the other hand, I had zero success starting a babysitting coop, despite recruiting friends, buying copies of a coop handbook for everyone, and bringing in a guest speaker. I found out later that my guest speaker's babysitting coop was started with a group of moms who were all expecting their second kids and were all feeling the need for extra help. My group of moms was all on their first kid and not hurting for childcare.
The moral of this ramble is that people will be more likely to join your group if it's filling a need...look for other lonely moms! (Try library story hour or a child-friendly coffee shop.)
Maybe print out some cards with your name and email address and keep them in your purse. Give them out whenever you see a mom with kids. I am normally very awkward socially and feel uncomfortable talking with people I don't know, but at the same time I'm sure there are TONS of moms who feel the same way, and would love to be a part of a playgroup. Anyway if no one contacts you about it, at least you tried?
I know I'm replying rather late to the OP, but I know what you're going through and if you haven't found moms yet, try contacting THIS group on Meetup.com and asking to join. If you're overwhelmed by the large number of members, don't be. You may just find the 4-5 you connect really well with; I did!!
Other ways I've met moms are through library storytimes, childrens museums, gym classes, and so on. You can also research your "interests" like maybe Montessori, LaLeche, Knitting, Cloth Diapering, or Kindermusik, and such. But I LOVE my mom group on Meetup! Best of Luck!!!