A variety of organizations participate in outreach projects to interact with the local community and build relationships. Churches, student organizations, and non-profits commonly look for outreach opportunities, but any business can use an outreach project to create a sense of community. A good outreach project involves both employees and community members, creates goodwill and provides an improvement in the area.
If your organization is looking to create closer ties with the community and to reinforce existing relationships, a block party can be a fun, informal way to get people together. Hire a band to play, leave space for dancing, and be sure to provide plenty of food and tables to encourage socializing.
For an outreach project that benefits the community and offers an opportunity for group members to work together, organize a neighborhood cleanup. Plan the event for a Saturday or Sunday, and spend two hours picking up trash, mowing lawns, bringing trash for recycling, or taking care of any other odd jobs that will make the neighborhood cleaner.
If your organization has the trust of the local community, organize a parents' evening. Use your space or a local church space to create a play area, and offer a period of time where parents can drop off their children off. Be sure to have first aid supplies on site, and provide crafts and snacks for children.
If your business or organization specializes in a certain skill or topic area, you can provide outreach classes to share those skills with local children or adults. Schedule a weekly evening or weekend session, and place posters around the community to invite participation.
Battle of the bands
If your organization has the facilities, you can put together a battle of the bands to reach out to your community. Invite local bands to audition for the top five or seven spots, and allow each band to play a set during the event. Using a panel of judges or audience voting, choose the top band. Arrange for food vendors to keep audience members satisfied during the event.
During the spring and summer, a community garden can be a good, fruitful outreach project for any type of organization. Find a piece of land, and arrange for your employees and friends to take ownership of a small piece of land. Invite community members to join in and create their own garden. During the process of growing, you will build relationships and an increased sense of community.
Once or twice a year, organize a community-wide volunteer day. Send out requests for projects that need help: building a house for a family who lost theirs to a fire, participating in a highway cleanup, taking meals to shut-ins, or setting up for a local festival. Put up fliers to advertise the event, and invite employees and community members to participate and lend their time to the volunteer projects.
- Rake Art. image by bluefern from Fotolia.com