6 elements of successful action groups
April 19, 2010
If you've reached the action phase, congrats! Give yourself a pat on the back and recognize how much great work you've done - no doubt you've already put in a lot of time and effort to get this far. Now that you're ready for the next step, let's look at some key elements for turning action ideas into real change:
Leadership: It is important that the leader(s) have connections to partnering organizations, knowledge of the issue, and the ability to take into consideration many different perspectives. Action groups also need a skilled group-process facilitator who can help the group work together productively.
Administrative support: Whether it's one person dedicated to this task or the responsibility is shared among group members, someone needs to take minutes, send meeting reminders, and stay in touch with the organizers. Make sure there are clear expectations and deadlines for these tasks.
Organizational or institutional oversight: Action groups need administrative support and a good leader, as well as a connection to a larger organizing group. This could be an institution that is already working on the issue or an organizing sub-group that coordinates and takes responsibility for the action phase.
Resources: Keep an eye out for new grants, networking and partnership opportunities, and ways to recruit volunteers. Ask steering group members for their suggestions to get you on the right track.
Credibility: Action groups are more successful when their efforts demonstrate progress and are seen as part of an authentic community effort. Make sure your project connects with a larger community issue, and don't forget to spread the word about what you're doing.
Tell the story: Document and share your progress with your community. Take pictures and videos to help bring life to your story. Share your insights and progress through press coverage, a website, a blog, newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
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