Involving people

 

people looking at a local history diaplay in a churchIt’s a good idea to try and involve people at all stages of your project, but it can be especially helpful during the planning stages.

Your church, chapel or meeting house was built by and for a community. Today, your community includes a wide variety of people.

You may discover a wealth of support, skills and experience within your community which will gladly be shared with you as your project progresses. You could find that members of your community bring new perspectives or ideas which add to your project, and ensure that it reflects and meets local needs and will be well supported once completed.

You may also find that involving your community in planning and decision making reduces potential negative reactions and leads to greater financial contributions from them. According to the ChurchBuild website:

 “in most cases a substantial proportion of funds will come from direct giving… often the most generous giving is not from those congregations with the wealthiest demographic… the key issue is whether the congregation are fully behind the vision for the building”

This highlights the importance of involving as many people as possible in your planning and decisions making processes. By bringing them along with you, you will often reap financial benefits as well as helping community cohesion.

Heritage Lottery Fund: thinking about community participation

Inform

Keep people informed about all aspects of your project, from start to finish.

You could do this by:

  • newsletter (perhaps dropped through letterboxes if you live in a small community)
  • website
  • facebook page / twitter feed
  • email

ChurchEdit: website and email newsletter tips

Church Marketing Sucks: getting your church started with facebook

Consult

Give people the chance to have a say about what happens in your project.

You could do this by:

  • questionnaire
  • meeting / focus group discussion
  • interaction via facebook page / twitter feed

Voluntary Action North Lincolnshire: consulting your community

Involve

Encourage people to play an active part in your project, whether short or long term.

You could do this by:

  • set up a Friends group for people interested in supporting your building and activities
  • local people on your project management group
  • specialist heritage skills training
  • community fundraising activities
  • encouraging volunteers to plan and stage project events and activities

National Churches Trust: setting up a friends group for your church