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I am looking to help create community partnerships. Volunteers to organizations, and organizations to organizations. Connecting people who are interested in a local social issue, those who are currently volunteering, and those who work in the issue (I am currently looking into which issues is the biggest challenge in our city).

I would like to lead an engaging monthly workshop that brings the community together to work on solving local issues. The goals are to create a community, connect people to volunteer opportunities. Also to empower people to work together to solve social problems.

My first thought is to start the workshop with a panel of experts. Those who work in organizations that are trying to solve the issue. Then, after the panel, I would like to facilitate a creative problem-solving process (in the lines of design thinking) where people can come together, identify a problem, identify a potential solution and then create a simple prototype of the idea.

I'd like to do this on a monthly basis. But I am unsure if this is the best idea to get community connected. Any thoughts of what might be better ideas, or is there's someone I can talk to who can come up with better ideas, or other resources to help guide me.

Also any thoughts about how to spread the word of this type of event.

Thank you very much in advance for the help. Please let me know if you have any questions or things to clarify.

Hi Michael!
Thank you for reaching out to Ask an Advisor, and my apologies for the slow response.
I love your idea of connecting different organizations and volunteers in the community to strengthen and amplify the work they're already doing. I think you are addressing an issue that contributes to ineffective community work worldwide.
Your idea of starting off with a panel of experts sounds like it could be useful. I would suggest adding a few community members of different ages to your opening panel as well, especially if those who work in the organizations do not live in the same community (which is often the case). In that way you keep the actual beneficiaries, namely the community members, involved from the very start - true community-engaged work! In fact, it may even be useful to consult with a few community members on your plans and the best way to advertise your events - after all, these are the people who have the greatest stake in the success of your intervention.
There are a number of materials available on this website which can assist you in getting the project off the ground, in particular the toolkits on Creating and maintaining partnerships, Assessing community needs and resources, Analyzing problems and goals, and Increasing participation and membership.
I hope this helps!

Question Date: Mon, 07/22/2019