Starting A Community Group
Whether you are an individual or part of an organization, choosing to create a community group is not an easy decision. Often, it is initiated by an issue that has affected a neighborhood at large and can rally others to either support or oppose the situation.
When choosing this path, here are a few steps to consider when getting started:
4 Easy Steps for Starting a Community Group
Step 1: Making the Decision. Deciding that you want to start a community partnership is a major decision. Before you can embark on this journey, you will need to decide if you are ready to commit to a process of galvanizing and organizing various individuals and organization in a collaborative effort. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do you want to have a community partnership in your neighborhood?
- Are the current problems things that can only be addressed by a large group rather than a small collaboration or task force?
- What are the short/long term advantages to you and/or your organization in working as part of a community partnership? What are the disadvantages?
Step 2: Find Partners. You should aim to recruit 4-8 people to join your partnership. Partners should work and live in the targeted area; be interested in working with a diverse group and familiar with some of the roles and responsibilities that come from joining your partnership. Make a contact list of namesthat you can call to discuss your idea and find out if they have a similar viewpoint and would be willing to listen to your idea.
Step 3: Schedule a Face-to-Face Meeting. Since one of the goals of a community partnership is to meet on a regular basis to strategize and implement, you want to recruit people that are open and available to meeting in person. Once you have your list of people that are interested in your idea, have the group meet informally to discuss your idea further. This “pitch” meeting offers everyone the opportunity to engage in dialogue, ask questions, and offer ideas about how to grow the partnership and enlist potential partners.
Step 4: Start Working. Now that you have gathered a small number of people ready to get started...propose to meet on a regular basis and get to work. Some of the items you should focus on include:
- Assigning Roles & Responsibilities
- Developing a Memorandum of Understanding / Partnership Agreement
- Conducting Community Outreach
- Conducting a Needs Assessment
- Creating a Group Identity (Name, Mission, Vision, and Value Statements)
- Who We Serve
- What We Do
- Where It Happens