How to Care: Starting a Support Group
Questions to ask
- Is there an existing support group that addresses your concerns?
- Do you have the time and energy to start a support group?
- Do you have the support of family members and friends?
- Can you handle the extra demands of organizing a support group?
- Are there other organizations that the new support group can
- Are there other caregivers willing to share responsibilities?
- Are there professionals you can call on to help with start-up?
- Are there professionals you can call on to provide topical advice
- How will you publicize the formation of the group?
- What community resources are available?
- What are possible sources of financial support?
- Where will the group meet? When? How often?
- How will the group be led by peer leadership, professional
facilitation, shared leadership?
- How will group responsibilities be shared?
- How will the group be structured as a stand-alone group
or as part of a larger organization?
- Will it be an informal group or legally registered?
- Visit support groups with similar concerns
- Talk with experienced group leaders
- Find out what they have found to be most effective
- Obtain how-to packages from established groups
- Contact a self-help clearinghouse for information on how to
start a support group
- Find out about available community resources
- Seek out opportunities to create strategic partnerships
- Find out about potential funding sources
- service clubs
- community and social service agencies
- grant-awarding agencies and foundations
- professional associations
- gifts in kind
- donations from individuals, families, bequests
- Form an organizing committee
- Arrange a planning meeting
- Establish the group's focus
- Define the aims and objectives of the group
- Decide who can join the group
- Define the group's relationship with professionals
- Establish the purpose of the first meeting
- Arrange a meeting to launch the group
- Publicize the launch meeting. Target potential members
- Collect resource information and materials to display or exchange
at the launch