Apply the Five ‘A’ principals to kick start your project and you’ll be up and running before you know it.
1) A vision
Dare to dream. Start off by imagining what great looks like. What would make your community extraordinary? What does your blissful end-state look like? A vision will instantly convey to others why your idea is a great one. Be bold.
Now you have a vision for what you want to do, have a think about why you want to do it. What are the benefits? A strong argument in favour of your idea will help bring decision makers on side. Make it compelling. Think about the outcome you want — does your idea benefit people or solve a local problem? What resistance might you face and how might you manage that?
Think about what you need to get started — money, people, time, a space? Once you know what you are asking for, you can anticipate the challenges you might face more easily.
You know what, and why… the next step is working out who has a stake in your idea. Include individuals and groups that will benefit, and any that might help you. It’s vital to talk to people who might resist the idea too — if you address their concerns and engage them you stand a much better chance of success. These people and organisations are essential allies.
Let’s talk tactics — how are you planning to engage people and get them to join in? Is your approach compelling enough to attract support? Think about how you plan to engage with different allies and audiences. Invite people to get involved, start conversations with others, and try and see things from different perspectives.
Openness and transparency can win you even more support, so why not share the journey? Collaborate with others to increase your chance of success.
5) Action plan
What are the big steps involved in making your idea a reality? Make a plan — don’t expect change overnight, but do dive in and get on with things. Break your idea down into bite size chunks and think about how to implement it bit by bit. Start with some quick wins to fire people up and get some traction, don’t forget to celebrate successes along the way and keep communicating with everyone involved.
To really kick start your project, think about sharing the load and getting some help – more hands make light work! Engage with your local community, let people know what you’re doing, encourage them to volunteer their time and get stuck in. It may not need to be a formal arrangement, but we’ve got some top tips on how to manage volunteers.