3 Planning Areas to Remember When Spearheading a Volunteer Community-wide Projec

3 Planning Areas to Remember When Spearheading a Volunteer Community-wide Projec

From planting greenery and flowers to painting buildings and removing debris, a well-planned and executed neighborhood cleanup effort can have a positive, lasting and far-reaching impact on everyone. While spearheading such an endeavor is well worth the effort for a whole host of reasons, organizing and planning an initiative of this sort requires hard work. This type of event must be well thought out to be effective and successful. A successful and fun event of this kind could amass tons of neighborly goodwill and create an enduring and beneficial tradition for the whole community.

The purpose of this article is to offer a thorough primer on the main points that someone or an organization considering undertaking such an event should keep in mind while in the planning stage, on the day of the event and post-event.

Planning necessities and preparing a project timeline

Step number one is to come to a consensus decision of who the project’s go-to point person, or leader, should be. This person should be involved from the earliest possible stages of planning, have an enthusiasm for the effort and have some experience coordinating events. Ideally, this leader would effectively delegate to others or a committee for parts of the plan.

With this core setup, decide upon the best possible effort for the event to focus on. Hopefully, this can be something that obviously needs to be done in your community and that serves as an inspiration to people. Some good examples to consider include:

general cleanup of trash and litter;

beautification efforts;

cleanups of local lakes, rivers or beaches;

flower, shrub or tree planting initiative, perhaps with incentives.

Let your imagination free to ponder that one perfect effort -- or multiple efforts together -- to address needed or neglected areas of your community. Note that some projects, such as painting city-owned equipment or buildings, may require a permit or official approval beforehand so include that in your project timeline.

With project emphasis and a leader, it’s time to create a detailed project timeline which will be a huge blessing later on. Determine important items such as:

the event date as well as a potential rain date;

a gathering spot with bathroom facilities for volunteers;

the anticipated number of volunteers needed and any efforts to recruit them;

all estimates of the work needed to be done before the event as well as the day of;

a checklist of needed supplies and materials to accomplish the project's goals;

any needed fundraising efforts to acquire materials or funds from donors;

acquiring any needed permits;

a detailed schedule of events for the day of the community-wide project;

a post-event checklist.

Consider utilizing a website that offers free event flyer templates to help get the word out there about your project, its goals and any materials or supplies that are needed.

The day of the event

Your detailed plan will likely be extremely helpful for carrying out a successful and fun event. Prepare and assign detailed descriptions to separate groups of the various efforts across the community that your project is undertaking. Make sure everyone has the supplies and materials they need, as well as information on nearby refreshments and bathroom facilities.

Some ideas on different assignments to provide volunteers include:

ensuring everyone has the materials, supplies and equipment they need;

cleanup work in separate areas like streets or blocks;

making sure everyone has access to refreshments;

helping manage the event, for instance by aiding with volunteer check-in.

sorting recyclables from collected trash;

landscaping work;

photographing the event;

painting work.

It would be useful as well to provide advance instructions to volunteers for post-event cleanup needs specific to their assignments as well as contact information for volunteers to reach out in case of any questions or concerns.

Post-event tips

After a hopefully successful and fun event, show your volunteers how much you appreciate them. A celebratory party would be ideal perhaps with snacks and soft drinks. Consider having a fun gift giveaway of donated t-shirts or packages of premium food. Always take the time to send out thank-you notes and emails and ask that future dates for events be saved. Finally, make sure to utilize all those photos you took during the event showcasing all the good work everyone did, and post them to social media.