Attracting Participants

An essential step in running a successful Mood Walks group is to get the word out! You need participants to gain momentum and make your group a success. Here is some advice about how to attract participants to your group.

Advertising Your Group

Advertising may occur at different points of group development, for both new and established groups. Marketing your program can help you attract new members, remind members who have taken a break to rejoin, restart your group after a hiatus, or promote a special event.

Your advertisements should focus on the benefits of walking groups that are likely to be most valuable to your target participants—see box below! The Mood Walks poster highlights these benefits, and the information can be adapted to suit your organization’s needs.

Effective advertising uses the language of the people whom you want to attract, and:

  • Grabs people’s attention—“That sounds good.”
  • Gains their interest—“Think I’ll read on.”
  • Encourages them to make a decision—“I will do that!” — and to take action — “I’ll pick up the phone and join.”

Source: Factsheet 1 — Promote Your Walks (Let’s Walk Cymru)

In a recent Mood Walks survey of people who experience mental illness, the most important benefits of joining a walking group were:

  • Increased physical activity level
  • Improved mood
  • Improved overall physical health

Social interactions are also important in keeping participants motivated to continue with the group!

External Referrals

Your advertising efforts may draw participants who are not currently receiving services from your organization to your group. There is an “External Mood Walks Referral Form” for external referrals contained in the Appendices section. You will likely meet with new referrals before accepting them into the group, to ensure they are a good fit for your group and assess their readiness to engage in physical activity. For more information about welcoming new members, see “Running Introduction and Orientation Sessions.”

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