plan a project
Define your project goals!
Goals show us direction by describing the final state we want to achieve; it should be clear from its wording whether it has been achieved or not. Think of both short-term and longer-term goals.
Hold one workshop on the topic of greening public infrastructure at a university
Educate a certain number of students at a university about the importance of greening public infrastructure in order to reduce extreme summer heat or increase the number of green areas of the university by 20% over the next year.
Quantitative key figures are helpful (e.g., one workshop, 20% increase in greening areas, etc.) because they are measurable, but don’t forget that it’s equally important to reflect on the whole process together with the group and talk about what you learnt from the process.
If it is difficult for you to decide on a specific goal, your imagination can help you a lot. Close your eyes and imagine what it will look like when your project is done and your goal is achieved. Go from more general points to more specific ones. If there are great differences between the image of each team member or any blind spots which are difficult to imagine, you probably need more discussion regarding this part of your project.
Think about how you can achieve these goals and what you need to do to achieve them!
Make a list of everything that is needed! (e.g informations, contacts, abilities and skills, money,…)
Many companies and organizations are happy to support you with information and material donations, and many locals might be happy to help you with specific steps. Dare to contact as many sponsors, experts and potential helpers as possible.
Find an ideal location but also alternatives to it!
You can use the following checklist to ensure that the location is suitable and available:
- We have permission from the owner of the property (if you want to use public property, you need district or municipality permission) / We have reserved the room.
- The space is big enough for all the people we expect to come.
- The location is accessible to everyone, including people with reduced mobility or elderly people.
- Other project members and guests have the opportunity to travel to and from the project site (if necessary).
- There is an option to offer some kind of childcare for parents (if needed).
- There is enough daylight and fresh air. It is warm enough but not too hot to work or concentrate. There is a shelter in case of rain or heavy sunlight.
- It is possible to transform the place for every format we need (sitting around a table, sitting in a circle, etc.) and the activities we plan to do (playing, watching, listening, dancing, working, etc.).
- There is all the necessary technical and material equipment necessary (electricity, projector, microphone, toilets, the possibility to prepare snacks, etc.).
- Our activity will not damage any valuable natural environment or harm other species or vulnerable people.
Plan the entire timeline of your project!
Create a timeline for important milestones (e.g significant events) and mark their respective dates. Title the individual phases of the project between the milestones and define what needs to be done during these. Think about when the project will probably end right at the beginning and don’t forget about the celebration date. Pay attention to fixed dates and periods outside of the project when you cannot work (holidays/vacation, exams, etc.) and make sure that every team member gets a copy of the schedule.
Distribute the roles and tasks within the group fairly!
First of all, different areas of activity must be defined. A few areas are listed here. Decide together how to manage them so that they go well during your project. The time invested by everyone should also be shared fairly and consider the capabilities and needs of each member of the group.
- Coordination: bring together individual areas of responsibility and maintain an overview of the entire project.
- Fundraising: think about campaigns to collect money, look for possible sponsors and always keep an eye on the finances.
- Managing materials: find ways to collect materials and manage them.
- External communication: present the project to the outside world and write texts to sponsors and the media.
- Internal communication: ensure that there is smooth and non-violent communication within the group and that there are clear and sufficient opportunities to communicate both face to face and online.
- Data collection: keep track of collected information, maps, schedules, etc.
- Photo/videography: document the project and produce images/videos that can be used for the project.
Pay attention to each other’s strengths and abilities. Keep in mind that nobody has to take on a task they really don’t like and someone may want to take on a task that is completely new and challenges him/her/them.
Take care of each other and help each other if a team member is stressed, doesn’t feel well, etc.
make it real
Important tips for successful implementation!
- Inform the responsible authorities in the municipality/city about your planned project and ask them for feedback, permits or personal advice.
Obtain any other permits required to carry out the project if applicable (e.g., private property).
- Invite members of your community to share their passions and talents to contribute creatively to your project. This can take the form of direct physical assistance such as manual work, etc. (municipality/city); the provision of information and meeting spaces for the community (library); in-kind donations (local companies) or finances (individual).
- Find an organization whose mission complements your project.
- Prepare yourself with research and practical solutions before you exchange ideas with potential project partners.
Before you start communicating your project to others, sit down in the group and try to think about who needs to know what about your project and which tools you will need to reach them best. Here is some inspiration:
- Create a social media page where important information about the project and photo/video documentation of the activities will be published.
- Create an information sheet that you can send to potential project partners and supporters.
- Instead of contacting individual organizations, institutions, companies or representatives of the active public, it is also possible to organize a public information event about the project (a community meeting) to which all interested parties are invited (e.g., at a local library or another meeting place).
Take care of yourself!
In order to stay strong for your project, also take time for rest, sports, your friends and other hobbies. Eat well and get enough sleep. Don’t be afraid to say no to activities you don’t want to do. And above all, whenever you feel overwhelmed – by activities or emotions – turn to a person you trust to confide in.
There may be moments that will have a negative impact on your psychological state. In extreme cases this can lead to burnout. But luckily, you can prevent this.
Try to build honest and open relationships from the beginning of your project planning and work towards a safe space so that you can always share your feelings, even if it is emotions such as fear, sadness or anxiety.
Need some support? Our handbook will help you to take action today.
Take care of others!
Never forget that stress and trauma are not characteristics of a situation, but an individual response, as each member of your group will perceive each situation in their own way.
Hold each other up when things don’t go as planned and don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your project together, adjust your schedule or re-think your demands. Don’t push for efficiency and performance at the expense of your own well-being and enjoyment of working together.
HELP! WHAT NOW?
Challenges, problems and unplanned changes occur in almost every project – that in itself is not a bad thing. It is important that you are prepared and think in advance about what could happen and how to deal with it. A small time-buffer has often proven to be very helpful. After experiencing a difficult situation in the team or during the project, take a moment to reflect on it together so you can learn from it:
- Why was the situation difficult for me?
- What could have worked differently? How?
- What did I learn from the situation, about myself, about the team, about our project?
What did you learn for yourself and as a group during the project? Creating a sharing circle in the group and talking with each other is one way you can reflect on what you learned during the project. You can also share in a pair with one member of the group and then share the most important outcomes with the others.
Think about how your campaign is impacting people, animals and the environment. At the end of the project, it is useful to compare the achieved milestones with the goals and the planned timeline.
Create a new overview map
For some projects, it can be useful to create a new overview map after the project has been completed. Go back to the original observations and compare them to the changes you have made in the community with your project.
Create a poll for your community
Another great way to gauge the impact of your campaign is to conduct a survey.
Now it’s time to celebrate your success together! There are many different ways to celebrate the success of a project:
Celebrate with those around you
Hosting an event with the group members can be a great way to involve those around you in the celebration. As part of the celebration, your project can be presented to the public. Invite all the people who have made a positive contribution to the implementation of the campaign.