We often see things in our communities that can be improved. However, we don’t always know what to do to make that change. Community projects are excellent ways to come together to support a cause, whether it be painting a house or funding a new playground in the neighborhood.
Many things are often left to the city, state, or local officials, but what’s stopping us? Here are step-by-step ways to create a successful project or service to improve your community.
#1 Find Out What The Community Needs
Start by asking family and friends if there are things in the community that require some sort of care or solution. Reach out to neighbors, speak to local government officials, talk to local businesses and churches, and don’t forget to contact any non-profit groups. Use social media to take community polls to expand your reach.
Once you have a general idea of the issue, research it. Is there a history of these issues? Is the issue new, or ongoing? What can we realistically do to address it? Have any other groups attempted to resolve it in the past?
Look into what type of events have taken place within the community. See what events were successful and which weren’t. Talk to local city officials and local non-profit groups that held the events. The goal is to see what works and what doesn’t.
#2 See What We Have The Ability To Do
Remain 100% realistic about this aspect. Ask yourselves these key questions.
- What skills, abilities, and talents do you have?
- How many people do you think you can get to help with the project or service?
- What skills, abilities, and talents do they bring to the table?
- How many hours can be devoted to the service or project every week?
- How soon should the project begin?
- How much money (if any) will you be able to fund or raise?
- Do you have or know anyone who has materials on hand to help?
Once you have the answers, you can begin to plan and organize.
#3 Choose The Project or Service
Whether you’re working with a large group, a small group, or just yourself and a few friends, list the ideas and rank them to see what’s most and least important. Decide or vote on what everyone wants to do. Remember, it has to be reasonable, within your means, and have a positive impact.
#4 Formulate An Actionable Plan
Begin by listing everything you’re hoping to accomplish. This should include the big-picture goal and all the smaller tasks that will need to be done to get the main goal accomplished.
Depending on the project, you might need to go into the practicalities like how much equipment and tools will be required, how many people need to be on deck to successfully finish every part of the project, how much time individuals can commit, and how to organize different volunteers.
#5 Recruit The Volunteers
You might not need this step if you already have a group of people stepping up to the plate. If not, then it’s time to get others involved. Advertise in local newspapers, websites, social media, and online forums. You can even hang posters wherever they’re permitted. Let’s not forget about word of mouth.
Be sure to get each volunteering person’s contact information; email and phone numbers are fine. You’ll also want to keep track of who can help with what.
#6 Create A Budget
With the goals sorted out, it’s time to crunch numbers and be specific with how much money is necessary. Be specific while listing things like how many of each item will be required. Research how much every item and service will cost, and find the grand total. Include basic practical needs, such as the cost of food and transportation. Make sure you include any licenses and event costs. Don’t be afraid to overbudget.
#7 Create A Timeline
There should already be a rough idea of how long the project will take. However, it’s time to narrow down specifics. Select an end date for the project that allows everyone enough time to put things together.
Get schedules for each volunteer based on the amount of time they can contribute. Remain realistic with the expectations of what can be accomplished. Never assume people will put in more than they say they can.
#8 Raise Money
There are many ways to raise money. Take to the streets for collections, organize events that include auctions or raffles, direct mail donations, ask for church contributions, and reach out to local businesses.
Crowdfunding websites are an excellent way to bring in money. GoFundMe, DonorsChoose, Kickstarter, and CrowdRise come to mind. You’ll have to look into them and see if any are viable options for the cause. Remember, many local businesses might be willing to provide sponsorship for the cause.
#9 Get The Publicity
Social media and fliers are two excellent ways to reach out to the public. You can also reach out to local newspapers, TV stations, magazines, radio stations, and blogs. Journalists and editors will be your best friends through this part.
To find journalists who might have an interest, do a simple search to find journalists who have covered similar events or causes. You can also create a social media page strictly for the event or cause. Create catchy hashtags, and get others involved!
#10 Start & Finish The Project
Some of the most challenging parts are behind you. Now it’s time to focus on the task at hand. Make sure everything is set up to keep the ball rolling. It’s vital to get pictures and video to document everything, especially that gratifying moment when your hard work has come to fruition!