There is a definite need for youth, especially Millennials, to take control of their communities. The youth have the fresh voice that communities often need to help drive the necessary change that propels societies forward. This is why I am challenging the youth of the country to put their creative, action-driven foot forward and put together a project of their own, a project that addresses the problems in their communities with the hyperlocal approach that is solving many of the problems across the country.
In my last blog, I talked about setting up a well thought out and effective service project to tackle an issue that is affecting your community. If you haven’t read it yet, start there before starting this blog. But, if you have read that one (firstly, thank-you, because I know it was a lot to get through. I’m wordy; I know), then you’re in the right place. Because, almost as important as starting a good plan, and getting your idea rolling, is having the funds and execution to get it done.
So, when you start, it’s important to ask yourself how you are going to accomplish the following things:
- How will people be made aware of your project?
- How will you pay for what you need to?
- How do you not go crazy in the process?
Let’s start at the beginning (a very good place to start) and hit these one by one.
First, How will people be made aware of your project? The best way to make people aware about small projects is, oddly enough, not huge media coverage. Don’t get me wrong, the local news (or national news if there is someone in heaven smiling on you and your project) can only help your cause, and will greatly. But with projects like these, you can have equally successful awareness from a simple grassroots campaign. If you’re not on Twitter, get on it. If you are on it, use it. This is a place where you can reach people with very specific niches, and with 500 million people on it, you are guaranteed to find a small community of people interested in your project. Make simple fliers and put them in places that people who would be interested in your project go (coffeehouses, grocery stores, libraries, town centers, etc.).
Next, How will you pay for what you need to? This is the aspect that is often overlooked, and the one that is often dreaded the most. There is a common misconception, especially among those planning their first project, that an organization needs a well funded bank account to put on a project. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many organizations, like GenerationOn, United Way, and others provide assistance or grant money, with special emphasis on youth and local efforts. Volunteen Nation has a great list of resources (and is also a great place to register and find volunteer opportunities) that can be used to fund a project.
And finally, How do you not go crazy in the process? The secret here is to find some friends who can help you out. Don’t try to take this all on yourself. A good project coordinator and leader isn’t the one who does it all by themself, rather the one who can get a group of people they can trust, then delegate to. On the day of, make sure you outline the various aspects of your project that will need guidance, and stick people on that area.
Once you have these things figured out, all you have to do is execute on the big day. But, the key is to love what you are doing. A good project is organized in the ways above, but it also has passion behind it. A project with some panache is one that feels like it accomplishes something, without driving the person who planned it off the cliff in the process.
Kevin Beerman is a Featured Blogger for Mobilize.org’s The Millennial Report. Beerman is a senior at Francis Howell North High School in St. Louis. He has worked with several organizations in the past, including the Red Cross, Salvation Army, The Mission Continues and other local organizations. In college, he plans on studying law and political science, and wants to pursue a career in politics when he is older.