Probably the easiest way to keep everyone connected in your new local Kidmin Network is to create a Facebook group. I’d recommend it as the first step, before you even hold your first network meeting. We’ve had many people want to be involved, but they’ve not been able to come to any of the lunch meetings, either because their schedule didn’t allow it or they have another job that prevents them from coming to a meeting. Having the presence on Facebook allows there to be a certain sense of community that exists at all times.

When I’m recruiting to the kidmin network, I often send them a link to the facebook group in my initial email so that they can get signed up right away. Communicating through Facebook tends to be more casual and easy, especially for a grout that doesn’t quite know each other very well yet. The benefits of using a facebook is that you can upload photos, use built in documents (maybe for everyone to list email, phone numbers & staff positions) and conversation threads to discuss/comment on ideas or needs.

I’ve seen a few cool uses of our Austin Facebook group over the last year. On some occasions, a member will post pictures of their facility just after we had a lunch meeting at his or her location so that everyone who didn’t make it can see the facility as well. Just this week, another member posted some videos his team made for large group teaching time for everyone to see. One member was doing a vision night for his volunteers and used the group to recruit help for childcare so that all of his people could attend his event. Last Easter we got behind the eight ball and needed palm fronds and put out the request on the group… we had more than we needed by the next day. We also set up all the network lunches as facebook events within the group. This way we get an idea of who is coming and who isn’t since everyone can RSVP. This works really well.

Just know that people are busy and activity on the group is often sluggish and limited. Austin’s group has more than 50 people on it and weeks will go by without any activity. Conversations within this forum have to be intentional and it takes commitment from several people to make connecting through the group a priority. There are limitations with just about any tool, but Facebook is probably as good as anything out there for connecting.