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Posts from the ‘Getting Started’ Category

16
Sep

Vision and Scope

Starting Your Project

The first challenge is to scope your project and gather support.
What do want to do?

Describe your vision

What do you hope to accomplish? Talk first with those who can understand your vision. Build it up and flesh it out as much as possible, before you worry about obstacles. Use a white board or pad of paper. Write down as many ideas as possible and review them periodically. Photographing your notes is a slick way to remember brainstorming sessions. Digital cameras make this an instant way to record minutes and distribute them by email.

Visualizing
Modeling of any sort can help you visualize. Make sketches or 3D models, play in the sandbox, take photographs and write stories. Do anything to build images that will lead you to your dream. Use these images to get others on board. Use the images to raise funds.

Do you need a life-size model? You can use rope or contractor’s ribbon to mark out a space in a park or on a parking lot, then walk around getting the full size perspective that you need.

Check out our Projects Photo Gallery for more inspiration.

Define Your Scope

How big is your project and what do you need to accomplish it?

Do you need money? We can getting you started on finding Funding.

Do you need contacts?

Do you need neighborhood support, Community Council support, City Parks support, Departments of Transportation Support, county support, state support? Do you need land? Do you need architects, engineers, cooks, writers or artists?

Do you need an artist, materials, contractors, dirt or plants?

Networking is a great way to find the things you need.  We can get you started with  our collection of links to all kinds of resources as well as making strategic introductions.

Do you need support?

Does anyone but you care about your dream? Probably the most important support is the moral support of those who will cheer you on and help you. Build those relationships. By creating a dream, you are giving others something to get excited about. You’ll be surprised how much they’ll appreciate that and how important that will be to you.

Others – even good friends – may not think your idea is so good. Don’t be discouraged. No matter how good your idea is there will be detractors, for many strange and human reasons. Persevere!

If you’re going to lead a project that will last for more than a year, we’d recommend you study leadership. It’s probably not what you think it is. See our Inspiration page and look at our leadership links.

 

Gather Your Team

 

Whatever you need, begin networking for it. Ask others who have been successful at what you want to do. Most people will be thrilled to pass on their knowledge. That’s why we created Urban Sparks; it’s a thrill to help you create something good.

15
Sep

What Support Looks Like

Does anyone but you care about your dream? Probably the most important support is the moral support of those who will cheer you on and help you. Build those relationships. By creating a dream, you are giving others something to get excited about. You’ll be surprised how much they’ll appreciate that and how important that will be to you.

Others – even good friends – may not think your idea is not so good. Don’t be discouraged. No matter how good your idea is there will be detractors, for many strange and human reasons. Persevere!

If you’re going to lead a project that will last for more than a year, we’d recommend that you study leadership. It’s probably not what you think it is. Also try diving in to our Leadership Profiles to get inspired.

14
Sep

Getting Started with Contacts

Suzie, Donald, and JackDo you need contacts? Do you need neighborhood support, Community Council support, City Parks support, Departments of Transportation Support, county support, state support? Do you need land? Do you need architects, engineers, cooks, writers or artists? Whatever you need, begin networking for it. Ask others who have been successful at what you want to do. Most people will be thrilled to pass on their knowledge. That’s why we created Urban Sparks; it’s a thrill to help you create something good.

Do you need an artist, materials, contractors, dirt or plants? Networking is a great way to find the things you need. Here is a start – our collection of links to all kinds of resources. Resources and Links

13
Sep

Getting Started with Funding

Funding needs can be very small to very big.

For very small projects, the simplest approach might be to reach into your own pockets or those of a few friends.  The time it takes to raise money elsewhere is significant.  Pay attention to your time to help assess whether  various fundraising activities are worth the trouble.

When more cash is needed, consider using a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor like us to receive tax-deductible donations and foundation grants to fund your project.  This method is particularly useful when you have donors identified but your organization is not a 501(c)(3). 

Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods Neighborhood Matching Fund is the gateway to City-of-Seattle-funded volunteer projects, offering several levels of funding for community projects. Many Seattle neighborhood projects start their funding here.  This matching fund, with its matching and reporting requirements, is respected around the world for the way it engages community and leads to finished projects. It is also respected by other funding agencies, so it is a good place to start when you are trying to put together an array of funding.

There are many sources of money

Individuals, businesses, foundations, labor unions, churches, guilds, government budgets, all can provide funding. It all depends on what you are trying to do. Look at our list of useful links and resources, call us, get funding lists from other projects and come back here to see what we’ve added.

Don’t over look pro bono or in-kind donations!

This is work that someone or some business is willing to do for free or goods that someone is willing to donate. A printer might print your poster for free; a local contractor may donate some backhoe time; a nursery may donate plants. Think about who might like to support a project like yours and ask. Fundraising seminars always make one thing clear: All those who give, were asked.

Get in touch and we’ll discuss your project.

12
Sep

Links & Resources

Links and Resources

Here are links to local organizations that can help you with your project…

City of Seattle

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Neighborhood Organizations

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Kids Organizations

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Seattle Schools, Public

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Seattle Schools, Private

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Foundations

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Bicycling

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Skateboarding

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Flora, Fauna, and Environmental

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Land Conservation

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Miscellaneous

11
Sep

Marking Milestones

Bradner ConcertGroundbreakings, Dedications, and Other Excuses for a Party

Projects for the common good come with a lot of rewards.  The recognition that YOU made a positive change in your neighborhood feels great.  We know that there are moments during the community project process that are a bit more….challenging.  Exhausting, even.  That’s why we encourage all our project leaders to take time to celebrate.  Celebrate beginnings, middles, and ends with groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings, dedications, and any other ceremony that will be meaningful for you and your neighbors.

You envisioned a better world and worked to make it reality.  Let’s toast to that!

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