A community can mean many different things. Maybe it’s your neighborhood. Perhaps it’s the region you live in. Or it’s a group of people, big or small, you find yourself belonging to and spending a lot of time with. Regardless of where we find our sense of community, we all want a healthy, thriving and positive environment wherever we go. So, how can we make a difference and bolster those support systems? In this article, we want to help you get moving to leave any place better than you found it.
Investigate important issues and decide what matters to you most
To get a good sense of direction, the first thing is to decide what is it that we want to improve. Is it creating awareness about an issue? Is it gathering resources, or raising money for a cause? Is it strengthening the community by celebrating cultural differences or similarities? Is it creating new paths to do things differently but more effectively?
Whatever it is that you choose to do, you must pick your battles wisely.
It’s always good to investigate those organizations in your community that share your ideals. You could join an ongoing project that matches your goals, working with people who already know what works best.
If you are a pioneer in the changes you want to make, you could begin spreading your idea among friends, family or peers and see who wants to join in.
Craft a plan
You know what you want, and you have your team, but how will you get it? It’s time to sit down and write realistic goals that have realistic time frames.
Ask yourself some questions. What budget do you need? How many more people will you need for your project? What resources will be necessary? Will you need special permits? What days can everyone meet? What is the location of your work area?
You may come up with a few long lists, but the plan will become clearer by the minute.
Document the process
There’s no better way to create curiosity and anticipation than to upload your progress to social media. Thanks to today’s technology, we can easily spread ideas and even have celebrities, politicians or companies joining our cause. The more platforms that you use, the more users will be able to see your content, engage and possibly be interested.
Don’t forget to post the results! Once people get to see what you and your team have accomplished, you may become an inspiration for them. They may participate in your next idea, show support both on social media and in real life or even start a new idea based on yours.
You must lead by example. Volunteer to do what needs to be done, offer information, be present and focus on your goals. Create a positive atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable. Listen to suggestions, accept criticism and be open to change.
You did it! You reached your goal. It’s time to rejoice and celebrate all of your hard work—but there’s one last step. It’s important to look back at the experience and reflect upon it. What would you change to make it better next time? How did you feel? How did you react to certain situations? How did you overcome some challenges? Who proved to be of great help and possibly be an ally in the future?
These are all questions worth answering, not only for your personal development but to be prepared if you keep on trying to improve your community.
For more on the importance of community support, read about Women Who Influence (and Support) Us.