|It appears that the heyday of the community service programs has arrived; not just because they can be incredibly successful and bond a community together, but also because they may be our only available resource when faced with financial constraints.Public sector employees are especially aware of the need for community support, both in deed and dollars. To turn that need into change requires mobilizing a group of individuals, businesses or grantors to assist in meeting a common goal using both a creative and analytical approach.|
Try following a few of these ideas to successfully launch and implement a community service program:
Define the need and the population you will serve.
With identified groups and their un-met needs in mind, the research to formalize a plan and build consensus can begin. Many communities or community foundations sponsor “life studies,” or “quality of life surveys” that pinpoint current and emerging needs in your area. These reports are a great resource because the information contained within is likely to already be on the radar of your community’s leaders and ambassadors—they’ll be a receptive audience when you are ready to implement your programs.
Now that you’ve defined the un-met need and the persons who are affected, you’re ready to step into action.
Implementing and promoting a community service program.
If your program could benefit from the partnership of a group of community leaders or business people, consider creating an advisory board or committee. This group’s role is to advise your organization and offer support in many of the same ways a board of directors would, however, an advisory committee does not have any legal responsibilities.
Jan Masaoka, Editor of Blue Avocado, suggests the following guidelines when establishing an advisory board:
Let your advisory committee members carry the program’s message with them everywhere they go with professional imprinted padfolios.
Keep the momentum going!
Recruit volunteers to help you manage basic tasks, such as keeping brochures stocked or fulfillment of mailings. Find special ways to say thank you, like an 8 x 10 walnut plaque with your program’s case statement and logo.
While building a successful community service program may be intensely time-consuming, the results of your hard work can be long-lasting, often affecting multiple generations in positive ways. Consider parenting programs, smoking cessation campaigns or recycling awareness projects as examples of the impact that has been made by community service programs.
In today’s world, whether your work is in the public or private sector, one thing is certain: The combination of being tasked to do more with less time and money will require you to think outside of the box. A community service program can provide a collaborative and inclusive solution to some of the deficits you are facing.
Best of the Board Café, Second Edition by Jan Masaoka.
Submit your review