There’s no active TSA group in my area—can I still start a TOS group?
Many members of the Theosophical Society in America (TSA) are members-at-large and do not have an active TSA group in their area. Even so, a passion for service may burn brightly within their hearts, and they may want to meet with other like-minded community members to provide needed service in their area. If this is you, take heart: you CAN start a TOS group! Below is some information and ideas, but before getting started please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding volunteers who share your enthusiasm for service is easier than ever. Try a few of these ideas and find what works best for you and your community.
- Word of mouth never goes out of style. Talk to your friends, neighbors, and people you know in your community. Let them know you’re starting a service group and are looking for kind hearts to join in and participate.
- Post flyers where ever you’re allowed to do so: community boards can often be found at grocery stores, coffee shops and restaurants, libraries, community centers, churches, etc.
- Advertise for volunteers on Craigslist.org (find your local area, then post a free ad under Community/Volunteers or Community/Groups).
- Start a group on Meetup.com. This option is affordable, though not free. Once you get a group started and have had your first meet-up, talk to the group about small voluntary donations to pay for the monthly cost. This option allows you to contact volunteers electronically to communicate about upcoming service projects and meetings.
- Start a page or group on Facebook.com. Once your page or group is established, invite all your Facebook friends to join the Facebook service group. You can generate interest, enthusiasm, and keep in touch electronically to establish a group of interested people, then advertise upcoming meetings and projects.
- If your community is large enough, you may be able to advertise for volunteers on NextDoor.com, which offers private social networks for 143,000 neighborhoods in the US.
Do volunteers need to be TS members? No, though the group organizer/leader should be a TS member to maintain the theosophical ethics and underpinnings in your group and in your projects. Check out these guidelines to learn what makes a project truly theosophical.
Decide on a service project with your group members. Brainstorm with group members about the needs in your community, and find something that you’re all deeply interested in and passionate about. Some people love to work for animal causes, some for homelessness and hunger, others for child welfare, still others for the environment. If your group becomes large enough, you can have smaller sub-groups that work on different issues. Look at our recommended projects for ideas, or go to VolunteerMatch.org
The TOS offers healing meditation networks for people and for animals. If your group would like to perform healing meditations, contact our network directors to get started:
Diane Eisenberg at 800-838-2197 or via email at TOS2healing@gmail.com
Rozi Ulics via email at TOSAnimalHealing@gmail.com
Whatever type of service your group selects, don’t forget to celebrate your group’s successes and completed projects!
Consider an alliance with a like-minded group that is well established in your area and is already working in your chosen field of service. Be sure the other group knows that you are participating as members of the TOS. Working with an existing group ensures an efficient use of resources and allows your group to hit the ground running. For example, if your group wants to work for the cause of homeless animals, you can partner with a local shelter by donating food and items from their wish-list, or by volunteering your time.
Stay connected with the national TOS by appointing a TOS Liaison (preferably a TS member) who can stay in touch with the national TOS via the Liaison Coordinator, Kathy Gann. Kathy communicates with Liaisons via an e-newsletter, the Spirit of Service. The group leader may also serve as Liaison. In turn, Liaisons report on their group’s service projects to Kathy so she can let other groups know about interesting projects. Whatever inspired you may well inspire others!
Need a little seed money to get the word out or get your project started? Click here to download an application form and apply to the TOS-USA.
Still have questions? Contact TOS Liaison Coordinator Kathy Gann via email at info@DenverTS.org, or by phone at 720-987-6323.