Any long term project is going to have lots of steps. Be prepared for obstacles that might arise. Get ready! Check out the accompanying Path to Change worksheet sample to see how this works.
1) Break it Down:
Logistics are a pain. Breaking projects down into steps makes everything doable.
- Brainstorm all the things you need.For example, for a conference, you might need: a venue, speakers, supplies such as technical equipment for the speakers, food, materials for publicity, and programs.
- Turn every item on your list into steps you’ll need to take to move forward. Order them chronologically, if you can. Sometimes there are steps that can be taken at the same time. For example, for a conference, some steps would be: Find a venue. Contact speakers and confirm them to speak. Arrange speakers in a schedule. Find out what supplies they need. Get supplies. Order food. Make flyers and get posters for publicity. Send out emails and put up flyers. Make programs.
2) Timeline (What’s Your Deadline?):
Set deadlines for each step.
- Set early deadlines.This is just in case any unexpected challenges come up.
- Create order for tasks.Some tasks (such as arranging a schedule of speakers) can only be completed after another task, such as confirming the speakers.
3) Delegate (Who Does What?):
Assign people in your club to each step.
- Everybody in the club has different skills.If nobody’s stepping up to the plate, just remind them: ‘Hey ___, you’re a really great artist. You would do an awesome job at making the flyers. Would you mind doing that?’
- Some tasks might only require one person, whereas some will require more or even everyone (like publicity). For tasks with multiple people, decide on and assign specific roles. For example, you can assign people to different places to put up flyers, different groups to email, etc.
- You might also have committees for different groups of tasks: for example, publicity, speakers, and food committees.
- Leaders/Officers in the club should be responsible for club members by making sure that everyone’s doing their job. If people have problems with their tasks, then the leaders should help solve them.
- Delegate tasks for the day of the event. You may need people to set and clean up, sell food or merchandise, or tell attendees where to go. Rally plenty of volunteers to help, day of. Different events require different help. If you are holding a car wash you need people to wash cars while others direct cars into the place, but a concert may require an MC and ticket-takers. Again, assign everyone a specific task.
- Remember to plan for some of the challenges that might come up. For example, transportation: you might have a lot of students who can’t drive. Don’t worry—there’s a ton of stuff you can do without driving. You can do lots of projects at school and on campus, such as tutoring, mentoring, education programs, conflict mediation, conferences, and other programs. You can also use school or student resources to ask for money for field trips and outings. You can ask parents or seniors in high school to drive. You could contact local organizations like the Kiwanis, Lions Club. Many are retired and can help.
4) Budget (What does it Cost/How Much Will it Make?):
Figure out how much money in general you have to work with.
- Specify how much money you want to spend on each part of the event, be as specific as possible. For example, how much for food? printing programs? speakers?
- Figure out how much money you will raise (revenue). For example, will you be selling food? Are you asking for sponsorships from businesses? Do you have grant money?
- Estimate how much money will come from those sources. (See the fundraiser section too for ideas on how to raise some money at your events).
Advertising is key.
- Personally invite people by email, Facebook, Twitter, phone, or in person. Let them know how much it will mean for you if they participate.
- Have your school newspaper advertise and also cover the event.
- Email blurbs out on listservs
- Post information on community (church, clubs) newsletters and calendars.
- Design a flyer or poster. Put them up in coffee shops, libraries, community centers, stores, and other places that people go in your neighborhood.
- Reach out to media: local newspapers, radio stations, TV’s. First, if you don’t have media contacts, compile a list of contacts (reporters who cover student and educational issues might be more receptive). Write down the names, titles, telephone/fax numbers, and emails of reporters who might cover your events. Call them or email them and introduce yourself.
- Keep these contacts with your club! If you’re contacting media, you should send them a press release. A press release should have: your contact information, a headline, and the who/what/where/when/why/how of the event. Fax, email, or mail copies.
- Let a local elected official know about your project!
6) Record your Progress:
- Keep all your papers, flyers, and letters so that you can write a summary at the end of the event.
- Measure the impact you had and compare it to where you started.
- Share your results with the world! Post a project on dosomething.org.
7) Reflect on Your Event:
Looking Back Questions:
- What went well? Why?
- What could have gone better? How could you have improved it?
- Did you achieve your goals? Both in terms of the community and for yourselves?
- Was everybody involved? How can people get more involved next time?
- What are your next steps? How will you reach more people with your project? What else can you do?