by Lanard Perry
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.
What Kind of Information Should You Include?
Your guide should include information aimed 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 stroke of information and services for consideration:
Adoption Services * Animal * Assisted Living Facilities * Burial * Child and Parent Services * Civil Liberties/Social Justice * Clothing * Crisis Counseling * Dental * Disability and Special Needs * Disaster Services * Domestic Violence * Education * Elder Services * Emergency Shelter * Employment/Job Training * Eviction/Foreclosure * Food Assistance * Government Agencies – City and County * HIV * Home Delivered Meals * Hospice * Housing * Immigration * In-Home Services * Infant Services * Information and Referral * Insurance and Financial Assistance * Law Enforcement * Legal Assistance * Medical Care and Services * Mental and Behavioral Health * Pharmacy Services * Photo Identification * Physical Therapy * Social Security * Substance Abuse * Transportation * Utilities * Veteran * Victim Services * Vision Care * Voter Registration
As you can see, the resources are far-ranging. 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.
How to Start a Community Guide
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.
What You Need to Do
The bulk of information needed for Community Resource Guide guides includes:
Gathering descriptions of agencies and services they provide.
Verifying phone numbers and website URLs.
Other relevant information.
• Identifying key stakeholders who may be willing to assist
• Designating a lead person or organization
• Seeking out 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
So, if you're looking for a unique way to directly impact the quality of life of people living in your community, creating a Community Resource Guide can make a significant and lasting impact on 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!
Real Estate Marketing Tip 18
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