Communities are like living organisms — constantly growing, evolving, and trying to survive. People identify with these living, breathing communities. They’re also self-organizing, and each community has its own set of morals and issues they feel strongly about. Can you think of communities that you’re a part of? Your neighborhood? A book club? Sharing a love for a particular sports teams? What about your non-profit?
How do you break into a community, and make your mission as a volunteer coordinator/organization THEIR mission?
The first step, believe it or not, is to make sure you have a clear, well-articulated mission. Common mistakes are making mission statements that are too long, full of big words, and ultimately not easy for people to align themselves with.
We really like the general formula of:
- Our Cause (Who? What? Where?)
- Our Actions (What we do; How?)
- Our Impact (Changes for the better)
For instance, this great example from Nonprofit Hub is clear and to-the-point: “We’re a nonprofit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries.”
- The cause (Who?): People in developing countries
- The actions: Bringing clean, safe drinking water
- The impact: Clean, safe drinking water
While it’s important that mission statements be concise, Donorbox shares both a brief and extended version of their mission. In a sentence, their mission is to “provide nonprofits with simple, effective tools to manage their fundraising activities and connect with donors on a deeper level.” Take a peek at the extended version here!
Next — share it! Make sure your mission is out there for the world to see. Use social media, your website, and ground troops to put your cause out in front of those who might want to join our community. Pro-tip: have an easy way for interested volunteers to get involved immediately. If you catch someone’s attention, you want to capitalize it!
Finally, keep your community alive and well.
Your mission is what brought your community together, so it must be nurtured to survive.
Make sure your community stays centered and true to what brought it together in the first place, and don’t be afraid to shed members who no longer fit in with the group. Have you been in a group or organization where one toxic individual completely brought everyone else down? Don’t let this happen! 🙂 Building a strong, vibrant community takes time and effort but it’s well worth it in the long run!