Planning Your 9/11 Day of Service Project
Step 1: Select Your 9/11 Day of Service Activity
- Choose the level of engagement that works best for you. You can decide to organize a special project or activity for your community. If that’s not possible this year, you can simply commit to helping spread the word or team up with another organization to support their plans.
- Get started as early as you can, depending on the size and scope of the project.
- Create a small sub-committee to help. Solicit ideas from others, including colleagues and supporters. Tap into your existing resources and charitable partners. Many community-based nonprofits and faith groups already organize 9/11 service projects. You may be able to tap into activities already on the calendar. Looking to serve veterans, military families and first responders? Check out these awesome lists of resources: http://createthegood.org/toolkit/help-military-families and YSA Service Project Ideas for 9/11, Disaster Preparedness Toolkit, and Teacher Planning Guide to 9/11 Projects.
- Brainstorm with your staff and/or volunteers. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Can we accomplish this activity in one day? If not, how many days are needed?
- Will the project accommodate the number of volunteers we expect to have? Will our project allow for family engagement (include activities for children of varying ages)?
- Will there be an age limit?
- In what way will this project have meaningful impact? Will it solve a real need, or be seen as a "make work" project?
- How many participants will this activity reasonably accommodate, and will I need more activities?
- Will inclement weather derail your activity? Can it be brought inside?
- Does the activity have strong media appeal with visual opportunities?
- Does the activity support diverse participation from all ages, classes, religions, and geographical areas?
Step 2: Building Your Project
Create a checklist that addresses every possible question and contingency. Prepare for every detail -- from the number of volunteers to how you will measure success after completion. A great way to test yourself is to put together a list of potential questions and issues, including:
- How skilled will people need to be to participate? Will you need to provide basic instruction, and if so who will provide it?
- How long will the project last? Keep it reasonable, or do it in shifts
- What supplies will you need and will you have enough so that every volunteer is occupied during the activity?
- What about tools? Will you have the right ones, and how will you guard against injury?
- Where will the activities be held? Is the small large enough for everyone?
- What happens if it rains? Do you have a Plan-B, and how will you notify participants if there is a change in plan or venue?
- How will you collect information on the participants? You want to be able to follow-up and encourage many of them to stay engaged in supporting you.
- Will you have a first aid kit on hand? You should always be prepared for the possibility of injury or illness & assign someone to oversee safety & first aid.
Project Design Tips
Your project can be designed in many ways. Much of this depends on how many volunteers you hope to accommodate. Large projects are far more complex than those which are smaller in scale. Here are a few options to consider for larger projects:
- Projects involving many people (more than 100) usually require multiple activities all at
once. For instance, some people can be painting, while others are cleaning, while still others are organizing books for a library. Keep in mind that when projects are for 9/11, organizations often experience a much higher interest level and response rate. So plan accordingly.
- Set up an easy registration system. This can be as simple as providing a contact name, number or email address where volunteers can sign up. Or if you have a larger audience, online tools such as signupgenius.com are ideal for organizing and managing sign-ups, especially when multiple shifts and supplies are needed. Another resource for managing volunteers is at www.volunteerspot.com/GetHandsOn, which is a free resource that helps schedule, sign-up volunteers and sends out reminders.