Day 7 – Sharing your success

By now, you should be well on the way to having a sustainable community program that’s working towards achieving your community goals. It is time that you start sharing your success. While it is a good virtue to be humble, you are allowed to be proud of what you and your community have achieved; after all, you have worked hard for it.

While this isn’t exactly a queue to break out the confetti and piñatas, you should remind the people involved in your work of just how far everything has come, and how much you all have achieved. A good way of doing this is to post some ‘before and after’ style photos on your organisation’s Facebook or Twitter page, which will also allow your followers to engage with and comment on these images.

It is a good idea to use this success as a means of gaining support for your initiative, as you are able to attract more people to your cause if they see that it is already working so well. A way of doing this is to contact your local newspaper and invite them to look at what your group has done for the community. Newspapers love a feel-good story, and if they can see that angle in the story of your organisation, then they will be interested, so make sure you have something heart-warming for them. The benefit of getting your initiative in the newspaper is that once again it will gain more support for your work.

Another good way of sharing your success is by contacting your local members of parliament, and inviting them to participate in your work. Most politicians want to look as though they are in touch with their local community, and this means that they may be willing to get involved with your work. If you are able to get a member of parliament on board with your program, then it will be a huge bonus for your work, as they can help gain more publicity and aid for your cause.  

 

Now that you have done this, you should be able to see the difference that you have made to your community. Now it is time to start planning the next thing you want to see change in the area, and start working on showing the world that We Give A Damn!

Day 6 – Continuing your vision

Now that you have started working on your vision, the next point of order is to turn it from a one-off event into something that will be sustained. What we want to see is your work to continue to be supported by people in your community, so as to ensure that the change you wish to see will turn into a reality.

This means that you are going to have to look into marketing your vision. This idea of marketing does not just mean trying to find ways that you can make money for your initiative. It means that you have to make your program come across to others as something that is beneficial to the community, and that it is utterly important for them to keep this alive.

Remember: You are a representative of your vision. The things that you do in your community, both good and bad, will ultimately reflect on the initiative that you are working on. This is why it is important to make sure that you act as a good representative, otherwise you will run the risk of losing support for your cause.

 

Another way ensuring the survival of your work is by gaining the support of bigger community organisations. This means showing how successful or beneficial your program is for the local community, which will in turn make bigger organisations interested in jumping on your bandwagon. A good example of an organisation that you might like to target is your local Rotary Club. These clubs are known for their involvement with and care for their communities, and are usually excited to see young people doing good work for the people in the area.

 

In a digital age, it is a good marketing idea for you to start up a Facebook or a Twitter account on behalf of your initiative. This will make it easier for you to communicate with people in your community, and also help in drawing the attention of other organisations that might be able to help you continue your cause.

 

Hopefully these tips help you to turn your vision from a one day fling, into something that will continue for years on end.

If you have anything else to add, feel free to write it in our comments section, and don’t forget to show the world that We Give A Damn!

Day 5 – Initiating Your Vision

Now that the plans have been laid out by you and your followers, you should start to look at acting on them. Pretty much, this is the time that you go out there and give your plan a go.

Whether your plan is to start a community garden, or to read to the elderly, or to raise funds for a charity, now is the time to do it. Once again it is a good idea to gather the people that are willing to help you, as you want to get as many people involved as you can.

Because everyone has a different initiative that they are working on, it is up to you and your colleagues to decide the best course of action when it comes to completing the tasks that you have set for yourselves.

Tips for getting things done:

If you find that people are mulling about, waiting for someone else to start the work first, be that person, roll up your sleeves and start the work yourself. This will break the ice and hopefully get your followers involved.

Don’t be afraid to delegate! You can’t do everything yourself, so don’t feel bad about asking someone to do something if it will help out with getting the job done. At the end of the day, they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want to help you in the first place!

It is important to commend people on their efforts. If someone is volunteering their time and abilities to help you achieve something, it is a good idea for you to acknowledge this, as it will make them feel more inclined to help you in the future.

If someone does not know how to do something, or looks to be struggling with a task, be sure to offer them as much support as you can. Talk them through what needs to be done slowly, calmly, and in a tone that is not patronising. This skill is important for all good leaders, and you should use this time to practice developing such skills.

 

Stay tuned for our tips on how to sustain your vision!

Now get out there and show the world that We Give A Damn!

Day 4 – Building your vision: Laying the foundations of change

It seems that we have approached the midway point in setting up our community initiatives. At this point, we must start moving towards turning our vision into a reality.

By now, you should have engaged with your community and found out their needs, as well as established relationships with key members around your neighbourhoods. They are most probably well aware of what your vision is for the future of your community, and are hopefully on board in terms of helping you achieve this.

Where do you go from here?

The next item on your agenda should be to start taking the first steps towards changing your community. One of the best places to start is by arranging a meeting with the people that are willing to help you. This will provide a good opportunity for them to get to know each other better, and for everyone to come up to speed on what is happening.

Note:  A good leader lets everyone have their say. Make sure you ask their advice or opinions on how exactly to go about making your vision a reality (they might have some really good ideas to contribute).

Use this meeting time to document the important things, such as people’s free days, what you plan to do, share contact details, assigning tasks to certain people, planning the next meeting. Meetings are a necessary thing for any organisation, as they allow everyone to be informed about what needs to be done when, and how best to do things. It is worth having someone take notes on the key points discussed while at the meeting, as you may not remember the specific things said by everyone.

 

Once you have met with your colleagues and planned your next move, it is time to start initiating your vision.

Stay Tuned, and don’t forget to go out there and show the world that We Give A Damn!

Day 3 – Getting Vocal: Sharing your vision.

OK, so now that you have started to get yourself known within the community, it is now time that you start sharing your vision.

Sharing your vision is not a hard thing to do, and you will find that the people you share it with may feel the same way as you do. The best place to start this is by talking with the members of your community that you have developed strong relationships with, such as those already involved with community initiatives in your neighbourhood.

So, why is it a good idea to share your vision?

The reason we should do this is simple: to get people involved making your vision a reality. The Community Tool Box says that “If your vision is one that touches a chord with many people and if you can communicate it well, people will join you in reaching towards your goals.”

It is important to understand that you cannot do everything on your own, and that people power is the key to seeing real change in the community. In order for things to become different in a community, the majority of the people living there must permit this transformation to happen, so the best way for you to do that is to convince them that it needs to happen and what the benefits of it are.

Stay Strong.

It takes a lot of persistence in order to get things done within communities – if it was easy, then there wouldn’t be a need for us to be doing what we are now!

If you can get people to see the future that you see, and the possibilities that lie in the future, then you are half way there when it comes to changing the community. No matter how simple your idea is, or how sceptical people are, the most important thing is to stay committed to your dream. If you remain persistent in pursuing this, then others will see that, and become more inclined to help you, ultimately leading to your goals becoming a reality.

 

Once again, it is time to leave the ball in your court. Go out there and show the world that We Give A Damn!

Stay tuned for Day 4 in our How to change your community in a week guide.

 

Like what you’ve read?

Have a look at the Community Tool Box, it’s got a magnificent guide on how to go about your community initiatives: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/leadership/leadership-functions/become-community-leader/main#.UmXS0vlmiSo

Day 2 – Offer a helping hand

Greetings!

As promised, it’s time for us to look at part 2 of How to change your community in a week.

Picking up where we left off, today is the day that we start getting ourselves known in the community. Before we can go about changing our communities, we must first of all see what changes are already being made. This is the perfect time to maintain the relationships that you have established in our getting to know your neighbourhood step! – Ask people in your neighbourhood what (if any) community initiatives are happening, and if so, who is in charge.

Lending a hand:

Once we have seen what is going on in our areas, it is time for us to lend a hand. The aim of this is to show how both yourself and others your commitment to the wider community. While this may sound a bit strange, it is one of the key pieces in building strong foundations on which you can instigate change in your area. When you help out with other people’s work and initiatives, it is more likely that they will be willing to become involved in your own projects. Furthermore, these people may prove to be highly committed to your cause, as they area already involved in one way or another with the community.

The best point to start at is by approaching those in charge of an initiative and simply offer them your help, from which you will be able to build a network of other committed members of the neighbourhood. Whether you’re contribution is big an laborious (like working on a communal garden) or small and relaxed (like reading books to residents of your local nursing home), the fact that you are offering your time to do this will be appreciated by your peers.

Go out there and get stuck in! Show the world that We Give A Damn!

Stay tuned for part 3 in our How to change your community in a week series.

Change your community in 7 days: Day 1 – getting to know your neighbourhood

Ok people it’s time for us to look at how we can change our communities in just 7 days.

Our first step is: getting to know your neighbourhood.

This doesn’t mean looking on Google Maps, but rather getting to know the people that make up your area. Have a chat with your neighbours across the street, drop past your local old-folks home and see how everyone is holding up – the aim of the game here is to build bonds between you and your fellow community members.

  • Note: It is a good idea to tell people about your goals in terms of changing the community. You might be surprised at how enthusiastic people may be!

 

People Power:

Developing and maintaining relationships with other people in your neighbourhood is one of the most important features of any community-based initiative, as they are the people that you are trying to help with your efforts. By winning people over, we are able to get more people involved in our cause, ultimately meaning that we can change things on a much larger scale.

Remember: When we stand together we are capable of moving mountains.

 

Lead by example:

It is important to remind ourselves that we do not build relationships with others so that we can use them like minions. To be a good community leader, we must genuinely care about those who live in it, and in order for us to show them this, we must be prepared to roll up our sleeves and pitch in. Furthermore, working alongside people is a great way to strengthen existing relationships and earn respect, which is important furthering your cause.

 

 

Now it is your turn. Go out there and get to know your neighbourhood, show them that We Give A Damn.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our 7 day plan!