Outreach programmes five ideas to consider
Before embarking on an outreach project consider the following.
1. Where you invited? Attitude
The donor, whether a school, community organization or corporate business, has no right to impose a view on others, and on top of that expect to be thanked.
When embarking on an outreach venture, whatever it might be do your homework. Where do you want to do the outreach? Why do you want to do the outreach at a particular place or with a group of people?
But most importantly - don't expect to be thanked. If you are giving somebody something make sure it is what he or she really want.
Have you had the discussion or have you decided this would be good for a particular group of people without engagement.
Regularly you hear of stories where computers or equipment is given to a school or organization, they return to find it stolen or not being used.
The DISCUSSION is very important, you, the donor, are not doing anyone a favour if you give something but haven't found out what the people really need.
So the donor's ATTITUDE needs to be one of humility and wanting to LISTEN and LEARN, not one of preconceived ideas of what might be needed. For a project to truly be beneficial and to work successfully - HAVE the DISCUSSION! Find out what is truly needed!
2. How will the project be funded? Funding
Before committing to purchasing or acquiring of equipment consider the availability of funds!
Projects can be successfully run without much or any funding, for example:
Older community members could go to schools once a week to take a reading group to assist a Foundation Phase Class teacher.
Older learners could visit preschools and interact with the younger children, reading to them, playing games with them.
Tradesmen and women could offer their skills of repairing broken windows, painting classrooms.
The funding constraints or how money will be raised for the project should be considered seriously before embarking on a project.
3. Can the project be maintained and supported? Sustainability
Providing items whatever they may be (such a computers, desks or vegetable gardens) need to be considered from a long-term basis.
After the discussions, and relevant items have been provided, follow-up should be built into the process.
If computers are given to a school, teacher training on using the technology and maintenance of the
Technology should be part of the long-term plan of the project.
If the items are furniture, the ongoing basis could be adding to the furniture and information of how to care for the furniture overtime.
If vegetable garden are started, other considerations such as water-systems and a seasonal supply of seeds or seedlings should be considered or the training of how to harvest seeds from the plants for their own longevity of the project.
4. Develop the relationship. Partnership
Developing a relationship with the people receiving the donation is very important.
Getting to know the people who the items are being donated too.
Learning from these people, knowing we can all learn from each other. Communicating regularly; a phone call, sms, email and also face-to-face visits.
Show an interest! Always be willing to LEARN!
5. Is it relevant and appropriate for the chosen situation? Relevance
Even if the relationship is established, don't assume you know what is needed. Always ask before making a decision about how you will be involved or what you may donate.
Ask the question! Is it relevant? Is it appropriate?
Have the discussion before decisions are made.
In conclusion . . .
Outreach projects are very rewarding!
One can learn from every visit and outing!
But always go with an open heart, humble in the knowledge that we can always learn from those we are giving too!
Enjoy organizing your school, community or corporate outreach projects!
If you would like Karen Walstra to assist you in formatting your outreach project, send her a message via the Contact