Having Trouble Getting Your Community-Action Project in Gear? Try One of These Three Methods

Community-action groups exist to help underserved and disadvantaged populations with a diverse number of needs—but they often lack two important things: publicity and the ability to reach the people they serve. If your community-action group is looking for a new way to gain attention and reach those in need, consider the following possibilities.

Develop Community Partnerships with Local Businesses

Local businesses have a vested interest in helping the disadvantaged in their community. These days, the corporate social-responsibility factor is very important to a business's public image and attracts positive attention for the business. In addition, 55% of consumers are willing to spend more for products from a company that's socially responsible.

Consider asking local businesses to adopt your community-outreach program by asking customers to add a dollar at checkout to support your project. You can also ask companies to support your outreach program through their social media site—recent studies say that 60% of consumers visit Facebook pages before they buy in local stores. That could go a long way toward increasing community knowledge of your program.

Ask Public Buildings to Operate As Collection Sites

If your outreach program relies on donations of physical items, make it easy for those who want to lend their support to drop off the goods. Depending on what your program provides, you could work with churches, stores, and public offices to establish collection sites. For example, if your outreach program provides books to underprivileged children, you can see if the local police station, school, and courthouse will allow your group to set up donation boxes. Not only does that make it easy for people to donate, but the visibility of the collection boxes will help spread awareness of your cause.

Take Your Outreach Program Directly to the People Who Need It

One of the best ways that you can bring awareness to your cause and reach your target audience at the same time is to take your operation mobile. A used commercial bus could be a sound investment for almost any community-outreach program. Properly converted, it could offer both storage and operational space. It can also offer visibility and the opportunity to take your services directly to the areas where people need your help the most.

For example, if your outreach program involves providing warm socks, gloves, and hats to the homeless, the bus can be sectioned into areas that make it a mobile donation point, storage center, and distribution center. You can take it into affluent areas for collection drives and then transport the collected items into disadvantaged areas in order to hand the supplies out to the people who need them. The outside of the bus can be used for advertising, and the bus's mobility will help spread awareness of your purpose.

Converted buses have a long history of being used for different community-outreach programs. For example, they've been used since the 1970s as bookmobiles, serving as mobile libraries that could reach people in areas that didn't have easy access to reading materials. In London, some converted commercial buses serve as a Bicycle Library, which is designed to encourage people to switch to the eco-friendly form of transportation.  

You can talk to companies such as Sawyers Bus Sales to find out more about buying a used commercial bus. 

Getting a community-outreach program started can be difficult. If you're having trouble gaining ground, try one of these methods of expanding awareness and reaching more people in need.