Planning Your Family Community Service Project

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famiy thanksgiving project

Think about your school, neighborhood or community, is there some need calling out to you?

  • Do kids have warm boots for the winter?
  • Do river banks and beaches need cleaning?
  • Does your school have enough books and computers?


Together, as a family, consider all the things that matter most to you, make a list and see if one or two ideas interest all of you!

Now take your favorite idea and write down all the ways you could help the situation. For example:

  • Check with local shelters and community centers – how many children in their care need winter boots?
  • Could you do a kids’ boot drive at your school, or all the town’s schools? At the police station, library or grocery store?
  • What about kids in nearby town shelters, do they need boots too?
  • Should you collect new boots or gently worn boots?
  • Would area shoe stores and department stores donate boots?


Once you’ve chosen your project, find out if other organizations or groups are serving this need. Maybe your family could join their volunteer team to help.

  • Check your phonebook, go the library or search on online for organizations that might serve a similar need and purpose.
  • Contact the organization, introduce yourself and explain your project. Ask if they could use your support or ask if they could provide helpful contacts and ideas for your project.
  • Think about other contacts and friends that might have helpful ideas; talk with them to refine your project idea.
  • Before you commit to your idea, be sure there’s a need for it. It must be relevant to the audience you wish to serve.


Great! You’ve got a topic and completed some research, now define your objectives:

  • Be specific, for example:

     - To serve children at our local community center, we need to collect 50 pairs of winter boots by December 1 (5 pair size 3T, 3 pair size 7, 4 pair size 11, etc.)

  • Be sure your objectives are attainable:

     - Give yourself sufficient time to complete each objective and set deadlines to keep you on track.

  • Create a task list. Think of everything you need to accomplish your objectives, for example:

     - Promote and assemble fundraising event
     - Purchase supplies
     - Find collection space
     - Attain permission
     - Contact volunteers and potential donors


Who can help you?

  • Ask friends, family, neighbors & anyone you know to help. Assign tasks and set realistic deadlines to get important jobs done.
  • Ask organized clubs, faith-based groups, businesses, community centers and other organizations  to volunteer time, space, materials and/or give monetary donations.


Figure out costs.

  • Create a project budget.
  • How much money can you raise to cover costs?
  • Can you get donations or grants to cover costs?


Tell everybody! Get attention, raise awareness and announce fundraisers and activities:

  • Use flyers, posters and banners to promote your cause
  • Contact newspapers and radio stations
  • Use email blasts and social media


Check your objectives and progress.

  • Stay in touch with your helpers. Are they on schedule? Do they need help?
  • Track your income and expenses; make sure you don’t overspend!
  • Anything else you need to accomplish your goals?


More great ideas!

  • Keep a journal of your family’s experiences and observations.
  • Take photos or make a video of special activities or events.
  • Thank your volunteers and donors! Send thank you notes to show your appreciation.