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Let's Go! - Community Involvement

Where Are We Now? | Where Do We Want to Be? | How Do We Get There? | Let's Go!

Bicycle raceNow after months and months of hard work everything is in place to move forward. How might the community be involved at this point?

Volunteers will be needed to help implement plans. In order to organize efforts, to make sure that everything is covered, a list should be made of all the necessary tasks, the skills required, and projected timelines. For each activity a "champion" should be selected who will be responsible for seeing that everything proceeds as planned.

Those citizens who choose not to become directly involved in the implementation can still participate by giving input on the progress that is being made. A point of contact should be designated in all newsletters or press releases that are issued to keep the public informed. Feedback is important. Like former Mayor Koch of NYC did, ask "How am I doing?" often and then make changes that will make things better.


Prioritizing for Success

What to work on first? There are a number of strategies. You could do the easy, quick things first. Or, you could do the free and low cost things first. Or, you could attack the problems the community thinks are the most important first. Whichever strategy you use, it is important to show some measurable results, some successes early on. Success is a great motivator! Check out HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development for some hints on strategy and prioritizing.Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer


Fundraising

Even with lots of volunteers, you may need funding to pay for the purchase of land, for capital improvements and for hiring designers, engineers, architects, lawyers, etc. There are several avenues to pursue in raising funds:


Writing a Winning Proposal

In these days of a lean economy, organizations with funds to give are bombarded by requests. Some reviewers are so busy they can take only 5 minutes or so per proposal to determine whether or not they want to consider your request further. What will help to get your proposal in the winning pile?


The Pros and Cons of Forming a Non-Profit

Pros: It facilitates receiving funding from grants (some programs specify that recipients must be non-profits), and receiving money from businesses and individuals (gifts to non-profits are tax- deductible).

Cons: You'll need to go through the paperwork, pay all applicable fees, and hold meetings and file reports as required.


You're Done. Now What?

Finally, you're done. All your projects are done or on the way to being completed. Your community has never been better. You feel great! Now what?

Chattanooga chose to do "revisioning" -- starting the process all over again using their planned endpoint as their new starting point. As in total quality management, some communities will choose to seek continuous improvement with each new wave of revisioning. Some communities form a non-profit organization to oversee continued efforts or they may transfer the responsibility to an existing nonpartisan organization.


Keeping the Community Informed

Key to the continued success of implementing your action plans is keeping community members, local elected officials, the business community and others informed of your activities and progress. Many of the same techniques described elsewhere in the Green Communities Assistant Kit can be used at this stage, too.

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