Successful programmes always involve diverse community members in their development. Each diverse community is different so before you start to plan or develop your programme, take the time to really understand your target community’s needs. This will ensure your programme attracts and engages the right people.
Tips for engaging the Right People
- Try to identify who you target audience is for each programme and focus on delivering to that target groups specific needs.
- Identify key connection points within your target community as this will help you build a range of relationships across your target audience.
- Strong, credible relationships will be critical to the success of your programme. It is essential that these relationships are based on mutual trust. Take time to build trust first, not programmes.
- Establishing meaningful relationships requires significant investment – so try not to overstretch your focus and be smart with the limited resources you have.
- Co-development and co-delivery with your community will increase the chances of a successful programme. It also increases ownership amongst your target community. Try to involve a range of community volunteers in the design and development process.
- Accept volunteer capacity, capability and commitment vary considerably across diverse communities. While some communities are very structured, most are informal networks with little resource and/or funding.
- Returned investment is not a common expectation. The project worked with a number of diverse community networks that received funding and/or free services with no expectation of returned investment. This is worth keeping in mind as it sometimes creates challenges when trying to involve the community volunteers in the design and development of a programme.
- It always helps to provide an incentive to volunteer. The project noted that participation in capacity building increased if incentives were offered such as work experience opportunities, receipt of recognised qualifications, and references for CVs.
- Shoulder tap consistent attendees and build their capacity – these players have the potential to become great community leaders. Consider offering these players an incentive to take up this responsibility – for example, reduce the cost of their fees, provide free training or equipment.
- Consider education sessions for team entries. For example, add a compulsory education session for at least one member of a team around joining a league or club.
- Make it easy for those that do volunteer. Have systems and process in place help guide the community to administer/deliver programmes – therefore building the communities capability to develop/deliver future programmes without support. For example, develop easy to follow project plan and budget templates for development and process sheets and registration templates for delivery.
Case Study: Mussadiq’s Story
Mussadiq Aqeel is a young leader in his community, helping to coach and connect migrant and refugee youth to the power of sport. Originally from Pakistan, Mussadiq came to New Zealand when he was nine years old. Watch a TV documentary about Mussadiq’s work with Connect2sport and the Auckland Metro Football Club to connect his community to club football.