You’re ‘in the home stretch’ when people in your community are discussing the outcomes of the ‘Meet The Experts’ Town Hall Meeting, calling local politicians about available funding and potential locations for Tool Libraries, Men’s Sheds and Community Gardens etc
Each community will create its own unique pathway to this part of The Call To Action. Some will follow each step in sequence, while others will kickstart infrastructure creation immediately after the first Town Hall Meeting by securing funds, bypassing focus group/ political support/ local media. There is no right or wrong way here.
Whichever way you decide to introduce resilience infrastructure into your neighbourhood, it’s important to ‘take the community with you’. It can turn out to be a hollow victory if you secure a grant and subsidised rental accommodation for a Men’s Shed without a ‘steering committee’ to share the load or sufficient committed members to utilise the Shed. So start the way you mean to finish’ and build a team and community support at each stage.
After having identified the infrastructure your community wants and is prepared to back, research how other communities around your city, the nation and the world have succeeded. No need to re-invent the wheel when others have laid the groundwork for you!
You will find numerous websites offering valuable advice about how to set up and fund community facilities. One that highlights the ‘crowd funding’ method of financing a Tool Library is: www.resilience.org/stories/2015-07-21/16-tips-to-crowdfund-a-tool-library-in-your-town/. Here several successful North American Tool Libraries were asked for their establishment tips. This list is equally applicable to most resilient community projects and demonstrates the importance of treating this part of The Call To Action as you might a regular business enterprise and deserving of proper due process and a legal framework:
- Have a business plan
- Open a bank account and take out insurance
- Research crowd funding practices
- Let potential funders know how their money will be spent
- Choose your crowd funding platform
- Offer attractive incentives
- Find matching donations
- Build a team
- Plan your campaign several months in advance
- Be authentic
- Recruit your neighbours
- Find partners
- Spread the word
- Get media coverage
- Launch and keep promoting
- Expect challenges
As you can see from this list, good time management skills and firm dedication are required to resource resilience initiatives, and it may take a while to attract the people and funds to make things happen. Even crowd funding may not be your community’s preferred funds raiser. In which case, look into government grants and/ private sponsorship. What ever route you take to establish your new infrastructure, stay positive and realistic. Remember that you’re taking on a truly inspirational challenge to build a more resilient and better connected community. Take time out to acknowledge how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved. Consider recording the journey for those who come after. Local history is being made.