Questions on attendance
It’s important, periodically, for me to remind you that you will develop your own style and way of doing things. This site is provided to give you tools and food for thought- but there are many ways of developing a successful political book group and each of these answers to questions represent the way I have learned to build a member-driven group over the years, not necessarily the way you will proceed. And our different styles are going to be what gives this site character, as some of you begin working with your book clubs.
Attendance at any one meeting will generally be about 25%-50% of the interested membership, unless you have a long established group with stable attendance. If this latter case applies to you, you can skip this section. But if you are working with a larger group in a party office or public setting, this figure would be a realistic scenario, and it comes with a dilemma right off.
Imagine that, through great publicity and organizational support, you have 40 interested people sign up. Celebrate! You will probably then find that 20 will want a daytime meeting and 20 will prefer an evening one. Now you have a decision. Do you want to leave half of those eager, politically-minded readers behind and go with a single session? Or do you want to serve both groups by having two sessions for each book? Either way, the odds are that 5-10 interested members will be at each session (25-50%). That is why, in the initial proposal, I had a minimum number required to run it. Now that I know about the fairly even split on session time needs, I would ask for a minimum of 40 to run a group, 20 if you’re going to designate a single time from the outset. And if you are working with a politically oriented party affiliate group which meets in the evenings, they will probably want a book group that takes place in a similar time slot.
Your group will probably grow as participants tell their friends about it. And those friends may be party members who are not on the mailing list or they may be Independent voters. They may even be of the opposite party eventually. This has not come up with our group, but if it does, I plan to talk with that interested reader about how we could work together to make the experience positive for all involved. It is important that, in your original proposal to the party leadership, you leave a door open for non-party members, if room allows.