Maintaining Your Group

Starting your group is the easy part. While the rest of this website provides you with resources for educating and advocating, you'll need to focus on growing your group as well. That entails distributing the message of The 912 Project, as well as marketing and promoting your group. Recruiting is important, and we've provided a variety of resources here to help you get the word out in creative ways, and to keep your group members engaged on a continual basis.

Quick Links

Custom 9/12 Project Marketing Materials

Our Advisory Board has some standard materials prepared for your use, and other local 912 Project groups have developed materials that have been reviewed and that work well. We’ll offer some of those here for your download:

912 Project Logo
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912 Project logo
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Constitutional Champions Logo
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EVENT HOSTING
GUIDEBOOK
Event Hosting Guidebook
(doc)

Marketing & Promotion

Sometimes the best solution is to make your own materials that are specific to your local group. Using some of the elements above or your own, you can use online tools to create your own materials without having to know a lick of design. It’s all point and click, and when you’re done, you order the prints and they arrive in a matter of days.

Print Marketing: Do-it-Yourself Stationery, Postcards, Signs, Posters, Brochures, Car Door Magnets and More

A service like VistaPrint is excellent because it provides simple online tools for you to select just the right products for the right purpose, without having to be a graphic designer. Many of us with the 9/12 Project have used them time and time again for marketing brochures, business cards, flyers/handouts, invitations, etc. Design it online yourself with their templates or upload your own, place your order, they print it and ship it. Cheap, Super-Fast, and still high quality. (Some are even available for free, if you’re willing to deal with a little VistaPrint logo on the back of the item).

Promotional Items: T-Shirts & Chachkes

Some are already doing this, but for those who hadn’t thought about it yet, there are several sites to create T-shirts, bumper stickers, pins, etc. and print only the quantity you need (no minimums). You can also make your own design, upload it, and make it available in your own online store for others to purchase. This is a perfect alternative to those who have 912 Project groups and need to distribute shirts to members or want to sell shirts and promotional items to help raise funds for upkeep (be sure to see IRS rules if you plan to make money for your group). Rather than worry about collecting money from members and placing orders with a print shop and distributing shirts….just set up your own group store in minutes and then send them to your store’s URL. That simple. Below are a few that enable you to do this:

In fact, our own website will soon offer national 912 Project merchandise online at our own CafePress store.


E-Mail Marketing Tools

One of the best tools I’ve used is ConstantContact. It’s free to send to lists of 100 emails at a time using the Free 60-day trial, but for larger lists the cost is really quite minimal. You can sign up online and get started right away and it’s very simple to use. I use it myself for email marketing campaigns, event announcements, and online polls/surveys. It has a library of graphics templates you can select and then add your text & other media to it. Also has an email list upload tool that allows you to import addresses, and it will automatically track what you send and show you what was opened, undeliverable, etc. Also includes the Opt-in/Opt-out in every message so recipients can remove themselves from lists, as is required by law.

ConstantContact is also a partner of The 912 Project and offers special service for our members. Click here to find out more.


Press Release Distribution

Especially for those of you conducting events or charity activities, distributing a press release can get you lots of much needed media traction. There are a few free and low-cost pay-per-release sites that enable you to submit a PR and the service then does all the distributing for you. The paid services will get you more publicity of course, but the free services are OK if you don’t want to spend the $$:

Of course, you can also contact the media manually. Most newspapers especially, have an online submission form that enables you to submit your event announcement online, free of charge. To get you started, here is a directory of newspaper publications, television, and radio stations – listed by regions – to which you can submit your event information:

If you aren’t sure how to write a press release, Microsoft has some simple templates that may help. And PRWeb has an excellent how-to white paper on writing good press releases that the media will notice.


Website & Blog Programs

Even if you don’t plan to add content regularly, having a website for your group is like a business card. It lets others in your community know that you are there, and gives you a place from which to start. You can look at other 9/12 Project sites out there for inspiration. Below are a few easy do-it-yourself website services that make creating and maintaining your 912 website unbelievably easy.

  • WordPress.com – a free service that provides hosting and website templates. All you need to do is point and click, select a design, add some content and publish your site. All at no cost!
  • WordPress.org – this is the premium version of WordPress; if you are hosting your own site or you have a host already established, and if you want more flexibility, this is the version for you. Still extremely reasonable pricing and just as simple to use. The website you are currently viewing was built and maintained using WordPress.org.
  • Web.com – Our Do-It-Yourself Website Design packages include everything you need to create a unique and successful Web presence, from $11.95/month.
  • GoDaddy – purchase a domain name and website builder package for everything you need from GoDaddy.
  • Ning – create your own social network; this is better for sites whose members plan to share information and collaborate online.

Content:

  • Be sure to read the section regarding content and communications on the Start a Group page, so you’ll know how to talk about The 912 Project on your website.
  • If you need automated content for your site regarding federal legislation, GovTrack is an excellent resource with a variety of simple tools and plugins to add content to your website.
  • If you like to publish blog feeds from other constitutionalist-leaning sources, Death by 1,000 Paper Cuts’ Top 100 Report ranks the most highly trafficked sites, prime for your picking.

Campaigns:

While The 9/12 Project is NOT a political organization, we recognize that many members wish to engage in campaigning for candidates, or running for an office themselves. Should you find the need to create a political campaign website separate and apart from The 9/12 Project, a few recommendations for campaign-specific site-builders are below. These can also be used for advocacy campaigns, not necessarily limited to campaigns for political candidates.

If you need a more robust, politically-focused website package for a higher cost, you can check out these services from Maelstrom Solutions:

“The ultimate tool for online donations, volunteer management, and event planning. This incredible system is now available for organizations that need to do online fund-raising, such as non-profits, political campaigns, and educational foundations. Prices start at for $40 a month.”

Creates professional campaign websites for political parties & elections at all levels of government. They work closely with your campaign to build a site that is creative, affordable, & professional. They can also provide everything from online donations, volunteer management, email, reporting (these are in the “Patriot” add-on), & unlimited free support. Complete political website package (with the add-on) is priced at a flat fee of $2,500.

Search Engine Optimization & Submission

If you have a blog or site and want to get traffic to it, use a search engine submission tool to get it optimized properly and submitted to all the major search engines. Here are some free or low-cost sites:

Be sure to optimize your site properly yourself first. Always add ALT tags to every image, structure the pages sensibly (4 or 5 key buckets, with sub-pages beneath those – too many buckets will decrease your search rankings ), include a site map if applicable, use inline content links, use META tags. Here are some more detailed pointers from a reliable source.

Stock Photos, Images and Music

If you need some good, high quality royalty-free stock graphics, iStockPhoto is probably the best bargain. Don’t let the name mislead you – it has digital/illustrations too. Lots of choices, current designs that are trendy, good search mechanism, and easy pay-as-you pricing available. An average image will cost between $2 and $10, but you can buy credits and also get volume discounts. No worrying about copyrights when you purchase royalty-free items and use as indicated.

If you need stock music, for use in a video for example, quality music clips at low prices can be found at Premium Beat. There are many others, but the pricing and quality at PremiumBeat are a good combo.

Broadband Media / Video

Everyone of course knows of YouTube and how powerful a marketing tool it can be. We encourage everyone to browse YouTube to find videos that suit the needs of your group’s learning and/or promotional needs.

If you need to make your own video and you have little background on it, the easiest tool that most everyone has readily available is Windows Movie Maker. It’s free and comes on nearly all Windows ready computers these days. You can download it from the Windows Movie Maker site, or if you prefer, download it from C-Net.

Social Networking & Bookmarking

Of course, one of the most powerful and popular methods of getting viral marketing exposure is through the social networks. It’s one of the quickest ways to build traffic. The easiest thing to do it set up one site, then use the Widget that most provide to integrate the major social networks. If they don’ t have a widget, then simply cross-link your site to the other networks. Here are the majors:

Or you can look at a pretty comprehensive list posted on Wikipedia.


Event Planning & Hosting

If you are looking to host an event, sometimes all the details you need to think of can be overwhelming. People almost always underestimate what’s involved in hosting an event. So, we have created this Event Hosting Guidebook (a work in progress) to help you figure out everything you need to know, from where to go to find speakers and entertainers, to selecting a venue, marketing the event, determining costs, what to plan for, and even all the equipment you may need. It is a work in progress, so check back for updates as we continue to work on it.

Online Event Registration

If you are scheduling an event and need to send out invites, a useful online tool is EventBrite. The site allows you to create invitations, upload contact lists, email invites, and it keeps track of your RSVPs for you. If you are selling tickets for the event, or it requires registration, the site also accommodates these needs with simple tools.



Research

If you have a need for conducting research, whether it be on legislation, on the financial disclosures of congress members, on philanthropic giving to grassroots groups or political campaign donations, we’ve prepared a comprehensive list of some of the most useful research databases and resources for you.

 

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