Looking for a creative way to generate leads while offering a valuable service to your community? Then Sponsor a Community Resource Guide!
A Community Resource Guide is a guide that contains information about products and services available in a city/town/community, with the method of presentation being wide-ranging. It can be via a blog, a section on a website, a stand-alone website, or a booklet – print or e-document.
Given the cost consideration of printed documents, I highly recommend a digital format that can be easily updated and redistributed in real-time. Paper copies can be prohibitively expensive to publish every time an update is required, which can easily be a couple of times a year. Ultimately, it's most beneficial for the document to be presented in multiple mediums, including mobile and desktop formats.
Your guide should include information meant to meet the needs and interests of the readers and information that offers assistance in addressing problem situations they may experience, including day-to-day resources, to occasional catastrophic events.
Specifically, yours could include information about local elected officials, child care services, recreation parks and playgrounds, schools, faith-based organizations, entertainment venues, libraries, utility companies, non-profit agencies, public safety, and more.
Following is a broader perspective of information and services for consideration:
Assisted Living Facilities
Child and Parent Services
Civil Liberties/Social Justice
Disability and Special Needs
Emergency Shelter Employment/Job Training Eviction/Foreclosure
– City and County
Home Delivered Meals
Information and Referral
Insurance and Financial Assistance
Medical Care and Services
Mental and Behavioral Health
Consequently, because Community Resource Guides are created specifically for the unique makeup of individual communities, it is doubtful that you will find two in any given city or county that are alike.
Still, before embarking upon your creating your own guide, you should 1) take the time to review those available in your community, if any, and 2) assess whether there are any significant omissions to determine if creating one has merit and would be a worthwhile project to pursue. If you decide it is, you'll be ready to move to the next phase: getting started.
Let there be no doubt about it! Starting a Community Guide can be a daunting task. Unlike a Newsletter, where you can create and sustain one in short order with minimal effort, a Community Resource Guide is time intensive and best executed through collaboration with others, whether paid helpers or volunteers.
Given that money is an issue for new agents and even some veterans, I recommend finding volunteers and student interns looking to do community service work. Free help could include Facebook friends, university and community college students, church members, and community business partners (non-profit, for-profit, and governmental agencies. Paid service can be sourced through sites like Fiverr, Freelancer, and Guru.
The lions share of time needed to create a Community Resource Guide guide includes:
• Identifying key stakeholders who may be willing to assist
• Designating a lead person or organization to take charge of putting the guide together
• Seeking community grants and fundraising ideas to financially support the project (if needed). Local government agencies can offer staff support for worthwhile, community-benefiting projects like this
• Using a cloud-based tool to collect and share data. Doing so will speed up your workflows and processes by allowing participants to input information 24/7, wherever they might be (home, traveling, during lunch breaks, before they go to work, after classes, etc.)
• Looking at other community guides for inspiration. Additionally, doing so can help you understand how to categorize the information you want to present, develop a clear idea about how you want to show the data, and decide on a template.
• Hosting a pre-planning event to generate interest in the idea while seeking partners
• Hosting a launching event (after the guide is completed) and inviting your community to attend. Make a media splash by inviting the press to attend.Note: Click here to read more about Spearheading a Community Resource Guide
If you're looking for a unique way to directly impact the quality of life of people in your community, creating a Community Resource Guide is a meaningful way to do it. And if your community already has one, chances are there are worthwhile services overlooked and not mentioned in them that could be valuable and welcomed information to highlight in the one you create.
Here's to doing good and being better!