If you want to create change in your community don’t just talk about it, do this instead…

Most weeks I speak with people who have ideas about how they would/could/should change their community, and often the whole world in some way.

Very few of these people ever actually move into action.

Why? There are always valid reasons…

I’m too busy, I don’t know where to start, it’s not my place, I don’t have the skills, I don’t know the right people, someone told me I couldn’t, and my favourite…

I need to wait for a grant.

The best community action comes of just that… ACTION.

So how do you get started if you have a burning passion to create change in your community?

  1. Understand what you are trying to solve/change or improve try and say it in a few (not 20) sentences.

  2. Ask people (other than yourself and your family and close friends) what their experience is of this thing, and how they’d like to change it. Write this down and if you can, record it.

  3. Review your notes and look for themes in the ideas. Has your thinking on the matter changed? Are there other things to consider? (hint: don’t get paralysed at this point, time spent listening to people experiencing the thing is crucial)

  4. Understand what impact you’re trying to create. What would your community be like if thing changed? How about the people experiencing it, how would their lives change?

  5. Next, you may be tempted to establish a new not for profit organisation (incorporated associate). Don’t. here’s why.

  6. Find the organisations and even interagencies in your area working on the thing you’d like to change. Start building relationships with them. If you can’t find any similar entities start with your neighbourhood centres, local clubs, ask your MP and ask the people (remember step 2) who they work with, who supports them. Get to know the stakeholders, what they are doing and where you can add value.

  7. Seek out an organisation with a similar mission and discuss the idea of ‘auspicing’ – i.e. building a partnership with the entity to support you to apply for and administer funding. Yes, there may be a fee (and should be) and double yes, there will be a LOT less headaches for you.

  8. Create a plan with steps you can share with others.

  9. GO

And if, like many you are the creator of good ideas but have no interest in implementing them, revisit step 6 and find a way to contribute. We need new ways to wriggle out of the problems we have across all our communities and who is to say that your idea isn’t the one. NOTING it’s likely you’ll be contacting busy people so remember, less really is more. Keep your suggestions to the point and when you have an opportunity to get behind the people who are making things happen jump in and support them (as opposed to throwing rocks from the side-line).

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