Grow Your Chapter Through Partnership in Service
As the holidays approach, we often think about how we can give back to the community in which we live and operate. For organizations, this too is true. Though giving back doesn’t have to be a once a year endeavor. Sure, holiday service activities make for amazing and festive philanthropic chapter events, but it is only a part of the picture.
Giving back remains a core component to community building. For a chapter, this can make a huge difference both in their reputation within the community and later possible sponsorships from companies and individuals within the community. Not only that, but a sense of satisfaction comes from partnering in service both within the community and with your fellow chapter members. Collective service deepens relationships between people, which serves to strengthen you chapter’s value on more than one level.
Create a Service Agenda.
There are many ways to give back. First and foremost, chapters can begin their service agenda by organizing philanthropy efforts as chapter events. Chapters can even open a meeting with a chapter project component. This is especially true if participating in a long-term project that carries through the entire year. Service activity organizers can create competitions between the members to encourage participation.
The Financial Aspect.
Chapters can create focused activities that may include fundraisers or awareness campaigns. Raising money for a good cause is often a good and simple go-to activity that provides for the deserving within a community and may not involve a lot of planning on the part of members. It becomes a win-win.
Partnering with a Non-Profit.
While your chapter leadership can work to plan every service activity, partnering with a local non-profit that has international connections may just simplify the process of organization. Take for instance Habitat for Humanity. Many think that this organization is solely about building a house as a large group. According to Dave Neary, Executive Director of a local Habitat for Humanity affiliate and member of the US council of Habitat for Humanity International, a larger and less known part of what they do is home repairs for both the poor and elderly. Large groups can come together to do this work. Or they can be leveraged in a greater auxiliary capacity that could be creating a fundraiser (bowl-a-thon, gala, etc.) or assistance with behind the scene activities such as envelope stuffing that would ultimately save the non-profit money. There are hundreds of local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity, each with their own local needs. What is also great about a national/international group like Habitat for Humanity, is that your chapter can work with its parent association to create a national service day so that many chapters can be involved. This could even be connected to a national conference or regional meetings. This adds another layer of community building.
The Bigger Picture of Service.
Habitat for Humanity is just one specific example of an organization. There are thousands of other groups that exist across the country that could use assistance. Clearinghouse agencies exist that can assist with matching chapters with groups in need both locally or more nationally. Even the federal government has set up a way or people to get involved through projects such as AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps. Often, local county or city governments set up their own clearinghouse programs to help organizations plan and learn about volunteering. Some even go as far as to set out to achieve huge goals for the community as a whole, making it easier for individuals and organization chapters to get involved through partnership. Wherever your chapter is located, there is likely some group, whether affiliated with the government or not, that will work to assist your chapter in building the perfect service agenda for your chapter.
Branding your Chapter
No matter where you take your service agenda, your chapter is part of your community. Be present, be proud. Select something the group is passionate about to build reputation and create community connection. Wear chapter shirts to unify the philanthropic team – the community of your chapter as a part of the larger community. This serves a double purpose, as it offers marketing without being overbearing. To ensure this is accomplished well, your chapter can create a specialized board position whose duties involve coordinating service activities, including confirming that press releases are created and distributed.
Together, your chapter can take service to a new level. It will benefit your members, your chapter, and the community. The value is limitless as your service agenda becomes part of the solution.