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Community engagement provides for a better understanding of a communities’ needs and aspirations. You can build and sustain cohesive communities in your society by engaging communities in activities they can perform together. Community engagement programs turn over a diverse school of like-minded people who can be persuaded toward supporting a cause. These programs can generate valuable social capital.
The most common form of community engagement is organizing programs, where a group of people, who are connected via similar interests, situations, health and well-being concerns, and a shared geographical area come together to attend or take part in the same activity. Some community engagement examples that nonprofits use are - donation drives, campaigns, research programs, educative programs, etc.
When an organization identifies a requirement and needs the means to address those areas, a program is conceptualized. For the idea and the program to serve its purpose, a program must be established with specific goals and a defined path to accomplish its objective.
This is where program planning comes into play. Program planning enables one to create a roadmap that outlines the various steps and processes involved in reaching a program’s objective. An organization's planning helps take into account the recognized problem, potential solutions, targeted goals, and the resources available to implement the program. Stakeholder support and engagement, and ongoing program evaluations can be made and anticipated When the program planning stage of the event is carried out meticulously.
Now that we know the process of identifying the need for a program and designing one is known as program planning, let us discuss the benefits of program planning. Staying organized requires a plan and a plan can help to stay on track and also track your progress. In addition to these benefits, program planning for community engagement programs have other benefits such as:
Program planning helps in increasing your initiatives impact, raising awareness, coming up with better strategies and lets you broaden the scope of your program. You will be able to analyze and allocate resources such as time and a budget more efficiently. Thus, we have jotted down a few key points for you to follow when creating a successful program plan.
The first step while forming any plan is to know why you want to implement it. Lay out the problems or issues you are looking to address through your community engagement program and the solutions you feel might help in solving them. Setting a clear objective will help you navigate through the project with ease and stir you back on track if you ever derail. A clear goal will not only help you, but also your fellow team members will be aware of what your program’s objectives are and why they are doing what they are doing. While defining your program's goals make sure to base them on the greater good of the community and make sure they also align with their needs, and also with your organization.
Research is essential to select the most appropriate means of execution of your program. You must tailor your community engagement program in a way that it meets their needs and they have an incentive to want to attend it. At this stage, a few questions to ask would be - Is another organization in the community already providing this program? How many people will benefit from this program? What are their requirements and desires?
This part of your project planning will include taking into account community needs, stakeholders and alliances, as well as the processes and materials needed to conduct the program. At this stage you should have your objectives in place and the best program idea to move forward with. You can now start allocating resources such as time and budget, note down requirements such as a venue, stationary, a resource person, training material, marketing and publicity requirements, etc. Creating such a ‘To-Do’ list will help you track your progress and give you an idea of what needs to be done.
Your prior research would have led you to understand your target audience and the needs of your audience that you chose to address. Once you have an action plan, it is important for you to have a rough idea of the outcome of your community engagement program. Assess your plan to see how well it would hold up against unforeseen variables. This will help you build a stronger plan and prepare you for situations you might not have anticipated. A lot can go wrong but a little preparation can make all the difference.
We understand that program planning can be challenging and overwhelming. Which is why, you don’t have to do it alone.
Chezuba is a platform that allows nonprofit organizations to post a requirement for free and you will be able to find the right volunteer to help you with your needs. We have a pool of over 120,000 volunteers signed up with us. Join us and let us help you make your life easier.