Getting started on Loomio means getting everyone signed up, familiar with the tool, and comfortable making decisions together. When done well, the group will come to life as people take the initiative to start discussions and raise proposals.
Most Loomio groups need a champion to help them get going, and then they build their own momentum. If you’re reading this, that champion is probably you!
Have a discussion with your group about using Loomio.
- What problem are you trying to solve with a new tool? (For example, including people who can’t attend meetings, better documentation, or to keep making progress between meetings.)
- What kind of decisions do you want to make on Loomio?
- Who’s involved? Does everyone in the group need to use it?
- What kind of behaviour is welcome, and what’s not ok?
- How will Loomio complement your existing processes?
Some people will be apprehensive about adopting a new piece of software for online decision-making. Talk to people in your group to work through any concerns.
Starting a new group
The first thing to do is enter a name and a description for your group.
Group name and description
It’s best to keep your group name short and concise.
The description should give members a clear understanding of what that group is for or intends to do. Some examples:
“A public group for us to approve requests for use of the gallery space“
“The space for our board members to consider budget proposals“
With a clear purpose, people can make judgement calls about what’s best for the group. Understanding group context helps people get oriented.
Your Loomio group page is also a place to store all of the information, links, and files that everyone in your group needs. Update the Group description field and attach files from your computer or from the cloud. This is a great place to also include reasons why you are using Loomio. Loomio is simple to learn, but it still may be a new tool for your group members and therefore take a small effort for them to get into a habit use it well. Sharing the reasons why you’re using Loomio can help motivate people to adopt it.
Your privacy settings determine who can find your group, who can see the threads in your group, and how people join.
The default privacy setting for new groups is Closed. This means people can find your group and ask to join, but the content of your discussions and decisions is private, unless you allow specifc threads to be public (explained in the Group permissions section below).
If you want the content of your discussions and decisions to be public, change your group privacy to Open. The members list will only be visible to other members.
If you want to hide your group, set your group privacy to Secret. This will mean only invited members will be able to see the group name, description, members list, and threads.
NB: If you have a Secret group and change it to Open, all threads will become public. Changing an Open group to Secret will make all threads private.
Upload a profile photo
Seeing someone’s face next to the text they’ve written can make it feel more human. It’s especially important if you’re the one welcoming everyone in.
Upload your profile photo before sending invitations to join the group, so that your friendly image is included.
Upload a group photo
Uploading a photo that has some meaning to your group significantly improves the sense of belonging. You can customise both the small square photo (eg, with a logo), and the big cover image (eg, with a group photo).
A round of introductions is a great way for people to get to know a bit about each other and to feel more comfortable. Even if people are already acquainted, they can share more specifically about their role or perspective in the Loomio group.
New groups start with an introductions thread automatically. We recommend you edit the thread to make it yours, with a prompt relevant to your group.
To edit the introductions thread, click into it and select the edit option in the context box.
You’re ready to invite people into the group! Loomio is a group collaboration tool, so this is an important step.
Visit your group page and click the “Invite people” button.
- If you have their email addresses, you can send invitations to each member of your group.
- Or you can share the invitation link via email or however your team communicates.
Follow up on people who don’t make it into the group and give them a nudge. You don’t want to leave people out of decision-making.
If people join but don’t introduce themselves, you might like to welcome them to the group with an @mention in the introductions thread:
“Welcome to the group @Jane :) It’s great to have you here! Would you saying a little bit about your work in this space?”
Champion the use of Loomio
If you model behaviour for others to emulate, your group will be more inclusive and engaging. You can help decisions progress constructively.
- “@Jane that could be a good idea, why don’t you raise a proposal so we can see if the rest of the group agrees?”
- “We haven’t heard from @Bill and @Ngaire … what are your thoughts?”
- “We might be getting off topic here. I’ve started another Loomio discussion about that here. Let’s bring this back to the original focus.”
If discussions happen via email
Remind the group you’ve agreeed to use Loomio and request people move the discussion over there. Sometimes it can be helpful to copy and paste what’s been said so far and directly give everyone the Loomio link.
If decisions are being made in-person
Recall why you wanted to use Loomio, and ask if the group wants to move the discussion online before concluding a decision. Common reasons are to include people who aren’t in the room, and create documentation for future reference.