Plan Your Event
Not all service projects are created equal. The fact that you're here is a good step towards landing your event in the "most meaningful, impactful, community building and social change-ing event of all time" category. Note: be sure to check out the Reflection section for more info on how to ramp up the meaning and impact for your participants. It's super important. Seriously. Do it. Pretty please?
Below are a few things you should consider as you get started, along with some helpful checklists. That button over there on the right also includes all this info in a handy dandy pdf you can take with you on-the-go.
Getting Started? Consider this:
- What issues are important to your group? Does your group's mission, purpose or passion align with a particular cause or community? The staff in Tommies Together can help you find an organization that matches your values.
- How can your group's existing resources and talents benefit others? Marketing association? Help a local non-profit promote an upcoming event or gala. Sailing team? Consider holding a free clinic at a local yacht club with limited resources.
- What type of service do you want to do? Direct service? Philanthropy? Advocacy? If this is for a class or campus life requirement, be sure your project aligns with their guidelines.
- How many people will participate? Is the event closed to your group, or will you enlist the help of others around campus? Group size will significantly affect the type of service project you can undertake.
- How will you get there? Is transportation an issue for your group? Can your group carpool or use public transportation? Consult MetroTransit to see what your options are. And don’t forget the liability waivers! Pro Tip: The Community Engagement Network lets you search for sites by location.
- Is this a one-time event or the start of a beautiful friendship? Engaging in a regular service event allows you to develop valuable connections in the community and a deeper understanding of the issues you’re addressing. Consider whether your group has the time and stability to engage in a recurring project, like a monthly shift at a soup kitchen, or an annual event, like a St. Paul Parks cleanup.
- Does your group have a budget? Some opportunities have an expense associated with the activity (e.g. purchasing supplies for welcome baskets, or a direct donation to support the cost of your involvement). Be sure to leave sufficient time to request funds, if needed.
Once you've answered those questions, time to start thinking in concrete terms.
6+ weeks before the event
□ Consult the Community Engagement Network or Tommies Together staff for opportunities with community partners
□ Make preliminary calls to discuss potential opportunities with prospective community partners. Remember to be considerate and flexible as you make your plans. Some things to discuss:
□ Min/Max volunteer capacity and availability
□ Volunteer requirements
□ Potential dates
4+ weeks before the event
□ Confirm plans with your group. In addition to the details above, be sure to mention:
□ Expenses and funding sources
□ Health and safety issues
□ Confirm with the community partner
□ Think about other needed preparation
□ Promotion on-campus
□ Education about the community
□ Collection of funds or materials
2+ weeks before the event
□ Remind participants of the service activity
□ Include info about the issue and your partner organization
□ Ask participants to confirm
The week before the event
□ Confirm number of participants with your community partner
□ Remind participants of the commitment
□ Take time out of a regular group meeting to talk about the issue and your partner
□ How does this connect to other group experiences?
□ Is there a short documentary, article or other media that can help everyone prepare for the event?
After your event
□ Reflect and evaluate with your group
□ Tommies Together Guide to Reflection is a good resource for this
□ Send a thank-you note to your partner
□ Log hours on the Community Engagement Network!
□ Stay alert for ways to sustain your engagement