How to Setup a Successful Holiday Outreach Program
There’s no better time to reach out to others than the holidays. So in the spirit of the holiday season, your advocacy group may want to organise an outreach program.
An outreach program lets you provide the needs of your local communities. It’s the perfect activity to organise as a group who’s set out to make a difference — and during a time of giving, no less.
So how do you set up an outreach program for the holidays? Follow this simple guide.
5 Steps to Organising a Meaningful Holiday Outreach Program
1. Find a community to support
Before anything, figure out the reason you want to organise a holiday outreach program — and make sure it’s meaningful. If it’s rooted in giving back to the community, then you’re on the right track.
Choose the community or group you want to give back to. Consider the factors below:
Your beliefs and values. How relevant is the chosen group to your personal values or existing advocacy? For example, if you’re campaigning against hunger, then a feeding program in the less fortunate areas of your community is ideal for the holidays.
Identify existing connections. Having existing connections make it easier to organise public events. Where better to start than in your local community? Ask local officials or even friends or family to help you get started.
Size and demographics. Ask yourself if you want to organise an outreach program for a large or small group; or for kids, people with disabilities, or the elderly.
2. Organise your team
If you don’t have a team yet, it's about time you organised one. You’ll find it difficult to set up an outreach program alone. Find staff members and volunteers who are willing to take part in the outreach program.
Ask yourself these questions when forming an effective team:
Are they passionate about giving back to the community?
Do they have ties to communities you can give back to?
Do they have background and skills that are helpful in organising the outreach program?
Have they experienced working for outreach programs before?
3. Outline your program
It helps to outline everything you need for your outreach program. Use the outline to keep track of your priorities, your schedule, and task assignments.
Here are items to include in your program outline:
The program flow contains the set of activities that you’ll be doing for the whole outreach program. Before knowing what these activities are, you have to decide on the kind of outreach program you want to do. Will it be a feeding program? A blood drive? A storytelling session?
Of course, your activities don’t have to be limited to the kind of program you’re setting up. For example, if you’re organizing a feeding program, you can also hold games and give away prizes for the kids who are attending.
After forming your program flow, you now have a clear picture of the resources you need, the kind of venue to reserve, and other factors to actualize your program.
Date and venue
Make sure your chosen date works for your target community. If you’re holding it in a community centre, double check if there are other events happening in the area. Also, consider the amount of time needed for preparing and organising the entire program.
For the venue, choose a place close to the community or group. Factors like size, facilities and accessibility are needed as well.
List down the resources to keep your program running. This generally depends on the kind of program you’re organising, but the following are key resources to take note of:
Food for community members, organisers, and volunteers
Transportation for organisers and volunteers to the venue
Sound system for the program proper
Giveaways for the community members
4. Gather funds
Without funds, you won’t be able to do and get everything you need for your holiday outreach program. That said, come up with a practical fundraising strategy.
Here are effective ways to raise money for your outreach program:
Sponsorships. Knock on doors to ask for donations, or write to corporations and organizations to appeal for their financial support.
Crowdfunding. Register to crowdfund sites or launch an online auction to gather support from the online community.
General sale. Sell merchandise, arrange a yard sale or a raffle, rent a food truck to sell goods, or offer your skills to interested people for a fee.
Events with registration fees. Examples of activities are marathons, film showings, concerts, sports tournaments, and more.
5. Promote your outreach program
While it’s essential to gather financial support for your outreach program, it’s also helpful to gather moral support — and you can do this by promoting your outreach program.
Look for organizations and groups that facilitate the same kind of outreach programs and ask for their support. If you can both collaborate on your program, all the better.
Reach out also to your public leaders in the community. With their authority and influence, having their support will contribute significantly to the success of your outreach program. You can even request for financial support through their sponsorship.
Last but definitely not least, promote your outreach program on social media. As more and more people are going online in the present, you’ll be able to lobby for support to a bigger audience.
Give back this holiday season
Follow all these steps with the important end goal in mind — to help other people. After all, when you wholeheartedly offer yourself in giving back to the community, your hard work and effort will fall into place.