How to Plan a Successful Community Service Project

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How to Plan a Successful Community Service Project

Getting Started
Planning and organization are essential to a successful community service or volunteer project.

Choosing a Project
Consider the opportunities that exist in the surrounding community. Visit the Center for Community Service and Volunteerism (CCSV) to determine if there are local organizations with needs that match your group's interests, abilities, and skills. While developing a project, consider such issues as proximity (will you need transportation?), timing (do not plan it at the same time as another big event or on a religious holiday), and available resources.

Creating a Plan
Planning and completing a community service project requires time, effort, and commitment. Plan ahead and set realistic timelines and goals. Planning service projects requires hard work; do not move forward without a plan. Keep things simple. Attempting to go beyond your capabilities may result in problems, frustration, and a poor service experience.

Agencies and organizations that rely on volunteers often need advance notice to execute successful events. If you are working with another agency or organization, it is imperative that you start planning early.

You can be flexible with small details, but early in the process, plan the event date, a location, transportation, and a contact person. Keep notes and always include someone else in your organization as a back-up contact--always have someone else who knows all of the details so as not to jeopardize the entire project in the event of illness or another problem.

Do your homework! Talk to others who have managed a similar event. Find out what worked and what did not work. The more you know, the fewer surprises you will have. If a problem arises, you may already know how to handle it. Visit the CCSV for advice, suggestions, pointers, and answers to any questions. In short, utilize your resources!

One Day Before the Event

Visit the CCSV to complete a Student Release and Indemnification Agreement and a Student Travel Authorization and Emergency Medical Treatment Release.

Call the agency contact and confirm the following:

  • What time your group needs to be there?
  • What supplies your group needs to bring?
  • What your group will be doing?
  • What agency representative will be on-site the day of your event?

If necessary, make signs so volunteers will easily find the meeting-point.

Day of the Event

  • Arrive early.
  • Meet with your service coordinator and review the plan for the day.
  • Distribute a list of contact numbers to your group so that everyone knows who to contact if something goes wrong.
  • Fill out a service project report and student outcomes survey.