In the 3 years The Dad Network has been running, there’s 1 aspect that has stood out for me, and others, as invaluable; networking with other dads.
You can read all the blog posts in the world, stream hours of video content and listen to as many podcasts as you can, but for real, genuine and unrivalled advise & guidance, you can’t beat speaking to someone who has been there, done it and wearing the t-shirt.
It’s for this reason that we began the online networking, but even that has limitations. So more recently, we launched The Dad Network Local which aims to bring local dad groups together to discuss, escape and learn about all things dad related.
The Dad Network Local currently has 12 locations across the UK, but we’re always looking for more. After all, there are a lot of dads in the UK.
If starting up a dads group in your area appeals to you, then read on, because we’ve created 5 easy steps to start up a Dad Network Local group. If by the end, you’re convinced and want to dive in head first, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
1. Decide on a purpose
Spend time to consider what you would want to get out of a local dads group in our area. Perhaps it’s just time without the kids to spend time with other adults or to spend talking about being a dad and all the challenges it entails. Perhaps it’s a group to encourage spending time with the children. Perhaps it’s a way of making friends from a similar life situation as yourself.
Knowing this will help enable your group to cater for the needs of the dads in your area. Currently we have some groups who meet in the evening at the pub (without the children, obviously) and some who meet at soft play on a Saturday morning.
Whatever the purpose, know that it’s an incredibly good thing to do; connecting dads in your area.
2. Set up a Facebook group
All The Dad Network Local groups are run via Facebook. Each area has it’s on private group for the local dads to join. It’s a great way to communicate, set up events and continue any conversations from your live events.
The Dad Network HQ will help support & admin the group, as well as providing branding so your group can look professional and welcoming.
3. Recruit your first few members
The first local group grew out of just meeting with 2 friends. If you have a couple of local friends, arrange a date to meet with them. A crowd draws a crowd, right? So the more of your friends & family you can get in the group from the outset, the better the foundation you will have to grow from.
Don’t worry if you like many other dads and don’t know anyone in your area, as an official Dad Network Local group, you’ll have free permission to advertise your group into our main network of over 4,000 other dads. There’s bound to be at least a handful nearby.
4. Book a date, find a venue & turn up
This often sounds far more stressful than it is. What’s your favourite pub? Favourite cafe? Favourite park? If you choose a venue that you enjoy going to, you’re already ahead of the game. Then, if you have a mate or 2 in the area that you can bring along, you know conversation will flow and that any other dads attending will feel comfortable. (And takes away the speed dating feel).
Don’t forget to create an event within your Facebook group. By doing this you can personally invite people, see who’s coming and communicate all the details easily.
When babies & children are concerned, you’re never going to short of talking points. Throw in work to the mix and you’ll sound just like a group of mums within minutes…
5. Promote the group
Once you have held your first event, you’ll feel more comfortable and you’ll know the ropes a lot better. This is the time to kick start promoting your event.
Without doubt, the best way to promote the group is word of mouth. No doubt you’ll soon be in Mothercare, the local sports centre, the play area in the park or just walking through town and you will of course come across other dads. Invite them to come along. As a conversation starter, The Dad Network will make you a handful of fliers to help break the ice. As soon as you provide us with the details of your event, we’ll do the rest and get the fliers sent to you to distribute.
Another great way to promote is online. Start up a twitter account to compliment the Facebook group.
The Dad Network HQ can also support with this, not only via advertising the group to the network of dads, but also on our home Facebook page. We’ll add the group to the website and interactive map as well.
Lastly, you can promote your dad groups with your local media. You can download a press release here, add in your details and send it to the local newspaper & radio stations. Starting a dads group as part of a nationally recognised organisation, is bound to make it into print.
It’s as easy as that.
The one thing to remember is that you’re not starting up this group on your own. A member of The Dad Network HQ will be available to support you online and on the phone. So if you have any questions, all you have to do is get in touch.
What are you waiting for? Why not start up a Dad Network Local group in your area today by sending us an email.