What do you do when you recognize a problem in your community that you would like to help alleviate? My first step is to find an organization that works in that space and see if there are any service opportunities that I could help with. However, sometimes there aren't any organizations that are actively working to fix the problem. When that happens, you might want to consider starting your own organization.
If you're in school, starting a service organization at your school is relatively simple. The specific steps that need to be taken will differ from one school to another, but for the most part, the basic steps are the same.
Here's a quick overview of the steps you can take to start a service organization at your school that is of interest to you.
Step #1: Determine the type of service organization that you would like to start
What kind of service organization would you like to start? Is it a service aimed at helping kids with disabilities within your school? Perhaps providing them will more accessibility to the afterschool activities that you have? Or maybe you want to start an animal shelter at your school. Or organize cleanup crews to pick up trash in your community. Maybe all of the above as well as other ideas! The important thing is to identify a need in your community and provide a solution.
Step #2: Make sure that there isn't a service organization that is similar to the one you want to start
Next, you need to look over the service organizations that already exist at your school. You very well may find that a similar organization already exists. If it does, consider joining it and putting your efforts into making it better. Divide & conquer doesn't always work -- sometimes combine & conquer is what actually gets things done.
Step #3: Gauge the interest of other students
If you have found that no other service organization exists that can meet the needs that you are wanting to meet, then it's time to gauge the interest of other students. You can do this by starting a petition or by simply asking them to show up at an initial meeting. Ask your friends, ask your friends' friends, put up flyers, contact your Student Organizations department (if your school has one). Be creative! Do keep in mind that you will likely need at least three to five devoted members/supporters within your group in order for your service organization to gain any traction.
Step #4: Start holding regular meetings
If you have a few people who are interested in starting the same type of service organization, you should start holding regular meetings. This could be weekly, monthly or even quarterly meetings. At each meeting, you should have leadership members present -- president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. Each leadership member will play a unique role, such as recruiting members, keeping up with funds, etc. Also, remember to make meetings fun -- food and/or "get to know you" games are great ways to keep people happy.
Step #5: Make a blueprint of your goals
All members should come together and create a blueprint of the goals that your organization has and the steps that you intend to take to meet these goals. Having clear goals and a plan to achieve those goals will keep your members actively engaged in your organization.
Step #6: Actively participate in community events
The best way for your service organization to take flight is by being actively involved in community events. Showing your community that your organization is there to contribute is a great way to gain new opportunities as well as attract new members.
Be sensible in the way that your group orchestrates itself. If you have a better-for-all goal in mind, then you should have no trouble in establishing a service organization at your school.