So you want to make a big difference in your community? Awesome! But even though your intentions may be good, flawless planning and execution won’t magically fall into place. Community organizing is so much more than simply having a good idea and a noble heart. Here’s some little things to keep in mind if you want to impact the community in a big way.
Flyers are still an option, but you’re going to need to ramp up your social media efforts if you want to really get the word out. “Social networks are beginning to have a bigger role in building community and catalysing neighbourhood co-operation and social action,” writes Rosie Niven for the Guardian. Creating hashtags on Twitter, for instance, encourages a sense of solidarity and shared responsibility that can keep members of the community in the loop 24/7. On the other hand, you can dub social media interaction as the successor of older door-to-door campaigns. When someone logs into Facebook, Google+, or any popular social network, they will be reminded of any upcoming forums or events. It’s constantly in a user’s face without being too overbearing. Not a bad tool to have in your arsenal.
… But Know Your Audience
Now don’t go too overboard here. You’ve got to know your audience, because not all social media is the same. Twitter is great for reminders or crowdsourcing ideas, while Facebook is better geared for longer posts, more formal invitations, and centralized information. If you’re trying to connect with a younger crowd, consider Tumblr, a trendier platform predominantly used by the coveted millennial demographic. To help you decide which network you should be using, Lifehacker has published a handy guide detailing the best uses for each platform.
When asking for donations or participation, you should start small– especially when dealing with a new crowd. It’s a lot easier to ask someone for a buck, than it is for $10. Similarly, people will be more amenable to complete small tasks on their own time than to participate in one large event that takes up several hours of the day. It’s all about building trust– start small, and work your way towards your larger goals.
Document the Process
I wouldn’t say not keeping a document is a deal breaker, but it’s definitely a way to make everyone feel included. And with the myriad of options available to you, there’s no reason not to. Be sure to set up profiles on Instagram or Vine, and upload photos and videos of the event to draw a bigger crowd. By updating in real time, you’re keeping a log of the day’s activities and encouraging others to come out to the next one. Live tweeting on Twitter is another great way to keep everyone involved– even those that aren’t there physically can get a look at the action.