Planning a volunteer project for a group of people can be difficult. There are a lot of things to consider; from what the project should accomplish to how to ensure the project has a lasting impact.
Here are some quick tips for planning successful group project:
1. Define Your Goals
Develop a set of expected outcomes for your volunteer project. These form the base of your planning. For example, if your goal is to help improve youth literacy in a local school, your plan is going to develop differently than if your goal is to help your community plan and prepare for a disaster.
2. Create a Project Team
Gather together a group of people to help get the project off to a good start. Inclusive projects start at the planning stage, so create a team that is made up of people with a wide range of abilities and experience.
3. Select a Project
Good group project ideas match real community needs with the skill level of volunteers. With a little bit of forethought, you can find a partner organization and project that could not be done without the added energy and dedication of volunteers.
4. Plan the Project
The planning process can help bring members of your project team together and create a sense of ownership of the project. Be sure to think about who will handle what tasks and the logistics involved in executing the project and getting volunteers to the project site.
5. Recruit Volunteers.
Volunteers help people change their lives and transform communities. Group projects give citizens a special opportunity to demonstrate caring and sharing, and encourage more people to give their time and skills to the issues of their choice.
6. Resource Development
What resources are in place to support the project, and what will you have to get to support your project? What type of equipment is needed to support the project? Will it need to be purchased or can you partner with an organization that already has equipment that you need? Don't forget to think about what will be needed after the project day - thank you notes and follow ups with your project volunteers.
7. Engage the Media
Get the word out. Group projects can make a big difference in your community and can be a powerful signal for positive change. The good news is that publicity for your project is often free. Making an investment of time in publicity and working with the media can help to spread the word that volunteering helps solve serious social problems and helps to build communities.
8. Implementing the Big Day
The key to success on the project day is good management and planning. The more that people know about what is going on, the more likely it is that things will go well. Make sure that the project organizers and leaders are easily identifiable and have some way to communicate with each other.
9. Sustaining Service
Just because the project is complete, doesn't mean that it's all over. You may find that you and your team want to continue planning projects in the community. Take some time to reflect on what you've learned through the process and start planning another project. If the team doesn't want to plan another project, encourage everyone to continue volunteering as individuals to help support the work that was accomplished on your project day.
SUPER BONUS TIP
Don't forget to have fun. Planning a group volunteer project is a lot of work, but there's a lot of opportunities in the process to make it a great experience for everyone that's involved from the project planning team to community partners to the volunteers.