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Community of Support

If you’ve chosen a nonprofit structure, you’re committing to the work of engaging community members. Once you formalize your nonprofit, these folks may become board members, advisors, participants, volunteers, or staff. At this point, you’re all co-creators! Convene this group based on your knowledge of their skills and their investment (personal or professional) in your community.

Once the group is gathered, you’ll find the Weave module on Facilitating Groups helpful in planning and executing the activities in this section, both of which are intended to be done with a group.

Activity: Network Mapping

  • Draw a small image in the middle of the page that represents your nonprofit. Write a few bullet points about what your nonprofit needs below the image. (Hint: it’s a common saying that nonprofits tap into people’s time, treasure, and talent)
  • Along the left edge of your paper, list groups of people you know. This list might start with friends and families, and expand to include clubs, internet communities, faith groups, etc.
  • Next to each group name write a few individual names of people who might be willing to help.
  • Along the right edge of your paper, list groups or institutions that want to see your community thrive. This list should start with community members themselves, and may also include employers, public safety agencies, local government, faith and civic groups, etc.
  • Next to each group name, write a few names or titles of people who might be interested in supporting your efforts.

“Relationships are built at the speed of trust, and social change happens at the speed of relationships.”

—Jennifer Bailey

Activity: Purpose, Strategy, Impact

Working through a purpose, strategy, impact statement with the group ensures that everyone is, if not on exactly the same page, at least reading the same book.

Giving time for silent reflection and for sharing, work through these questions with the group.

  • Describe a time when you experienced or witnessed the problem.
  • What really bothers you about this problem?
  • What draws you to the work of solving this problem?
  • When or where have you seen the problem adequately addressed?
  • What’s promising about the solution?
  • What skills or resources will help solve the problem?
  • How will people be better off when this work is done?

As you share responses, collect words and phrases that describe the purpose for your work, the strategy you’re going to use, and the impact you foresee. Identify the themes that are most common in the group’s responses. Work together to craft a statement that reflects your group’s purpose, strategy, and impact.

On nonprofit board development:

Test your knowledge

True or false: You can invite friends and family to help you start your nonprofit.

True or false: You can invite people you don’t know to help you start your nonprofit.