Tuesday, August 31, 2010

There are probably hundreds of community groups, all wanting, and needing, new members. But how to go about it? This article just appeared in Rurban Fringe - an excellent website.

Kick-Start a Community Group

Posted on | May 6, 2010

Most well-intentioned community group efforts fail.

They fail because they try to get all the stakeholders they can into a room to forge bonds that may or may not exist. They fail because they don’t take into account those that have agendas. They fail because those agendas conflict, becoming arguments. They fail because those not interested in arguing, quit.

You can’t start a group effort by starting big.

People need to identify with the purpose of the community group and with one another.

Start small. Model knowledge-sharing and positive networking behaviours yourself … what do you have to give to the community? Identify and invite community influencers and advocates. Watch people interact. Assist folks in really getting to know one another … informal coffee dates or anything involving food is good for this. Ask people what they would like to give and get.

While difficult – there’s no road map for building relationships – this work will steadily build trust, buy-in and support for the community … and trust is the glue that binds communities together.

Build the bandwagon. Once it’s rolling, you may be surprised at how many other people want to jump on.

Inviting people to a first meeting where coffee and food is served is an excellent idea. Doesn't have to be anything more than cookies with the coffee but it will create a more relaxed atmosphere, to help establish those bonds, which will make people want to come back, a reason for giving up one's time.

Asking people what they would like to give and get is a good point. There has to be some benefit in volunteering - whether it makes you feel good, you feel useful, something that makes you want to go back.

Once in a while we get on committees that provide no satisfaction, no thanks offered, no acknowledgment of your contribution. Those committees are when we should take the opportunity to say NO more. There are a great many committees who will value our participation.

Now having said all that, the Nassagaweya Community Consultation Committee is looking for new members. The committee acts as a liaison between Town, Region, police and the community. We hold public information meeting twice yearly, publish an annual newsletter, operate the Rural Watch system, run the annual Roadside Cleanup, and a whole lot more.

Come to the meeting September 1 (first Wednesday of each month), 7pm at the Nassagaweya Community Centre. Come and have coffee and cookies with us, find out what we're about and how you can help.