At the core of any nonprofit’s work is serving the community and providing needed resources, information or education to people who need it the most. But to remain in tune with community needs, nonprofits must maintain a constant presence and stay in close communication with local residents and community stakeholders. Knowing what’s really happening in a community and building community trust starts with being consistently engaged.
One way a nonprofit can remain connected to the surrounding community is to participate in local events. Having someone from your organization attend public events at businesses, churches, community centers, or schools is a great way to connect with residents and hear first-hand what issues need the most attention. It also allows your organization to build relationships with other stakeholders who may want to partner to address a pressing community issue.
Hosting local community events to give residents a chance to learn about your mission and meet your staff, as well as raise funds. Being a part of community outreach, events and public legislation meetings will build relationships within your community leading to more opportunities for partnership and overall community impact.
Raising awareness around community issues is a necessity in doing nonprofit work. The core of every nonprofit mission is change and change often only comes when folk come together and advocate to address specific issues at hand.
Panels or round table discussions involving subject-matter experts and community members are an effective way to bring public awareness and garner support for efforts to create change.
Any event that allows community members an opportunity to express their concerns or ask questions will give way for the community’s voice and overall well-being by using its platform to encourage widespread discussion. Townhall events are one way to bring issues to the attention of the public, especially if you invite elected officials who make legislative decisions on the community’s behalf.
Your organization can spearhead efforts to address social issues by sponsoring community service events that are open to the public. Sponsoring these events give community members concrete ways to participate in bettering their community and shows that your organization is committed to creating tangible change. By building partnerships with other organizations you’ll gain access to additional resources and services for future projects.
There are certain issues, such as economic or healthcare issues, that cannot completely be resolved with direct services. To address these issues, your organization can choose to take your involvement one step further, moving outside of providing only direct services to advocating for effective laws that benefit the population you serve.
Community involvement is still crucial for this type of work, since forming a coalition that will influence legislators requires partnership with other organizations and access to financial resources that you may be able access with contributions from the local community. Many organizations that work to change laws have spent years investing in their communities before taking on this challenge and are able to receive ample financial and political support as a result.
Nonprofits cannot fulfill their missions without the support of the local community, which is why consistent engagement with local community leaders and other community stakeholders is so important.
How is your nonprofit approaching involvement in community issues?
Written by Raydia Martin, Business Intern at The Empowerment Center
To get assistance with speaking out about public policy issues around your nonprofit mission, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit us on Instagram @theempowermentccleveland