Identifying existing networks

Most likely, your potential participants are affiliated with one or more of your potential partners (See Finding partners) as customers, members or students. Seek these potential partners' advice on reaching out to their customers/members/students as you discuss the advantages of partnership with them. Promoting your program through these new partnerships should be relatively easy, affordable and effective.

Potential venues for promoting your program and recruiting participants include:

  • The food columnist of the local newspaper
  • Local food bloggers and podcasters
  • Farmer's markets
  • Food co-ops
  • Cooking schools
  • Restaurants that feature local/sustainable food
  • Farm-to-table events
  • Gastro-pubs
  • Young professional groups
  • Urban resource centers
  • Brewing and wine making clubs
  • Breweries
  • Wineries

These groups are not only sources of potential participants, they can also be sources of other contacts that may be helpful in your search for partners and participants.

Taking time to work through these details prior to hosting your first program is very important because your first program will generally set the tenor and base for future programs.

Program managers who have successfully recruited their “ideal” target audience at their first program report that word-of-mouth advertising from graduates of the first program has been very important in filling subsequent programs. 

If you elect to broaden your audience to include new adult, hunters or anglers that may or may not have a strong interest in food, you should consider contacting:

  • Sporting goods stores that specialize in non-angling outdoor activities such as biking, camping, climbing, etc.
  • Local adventure, hiking, backpacking, kayaking and outdoor recreation groups
  • The outdoor columnist of the local newspaper
  • Local outdoor bloggers and podcasters

Several successful new adult program managers noted that many of the participants in their programs already had a broad range of outdoor skills; they just did not have hunting or fishing skills. College outdoor recreation clubs have also been fertile ground for some programs.

Retirees also show interest in taking up hunting or angling because they enjoy the outdoors and suddenly find themselves with the time to get out and enjoy nature.

If you are looking at hosting a wild fish and game dinner or event as an introduction to, or recruitment event for your cooking program, consider using existing "meetups" and professional networks as the forum for your event.

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