I’d like to talk about group involvement surrounding a park’s money and the individual contributions of their members. Some people, when they get in office and have the personal funds, feel like they need to spend personal money to make their park great. For example they want to buy relics or spend a bunch of money on loaner weapons. While the sentiment is excellent, that isn’t always the best approach for the long term health of a park. By spending their own money and doing all the hard work themselves will create an expectation of this great environment, an expectation that’s been created without the people putting in any of their own effort into creating and maintaining it.
In essence they will have a great park that they have no personal investment in and that is the problem. My suggestion would be for people to alter their approach. Not only should people be leading by example but also by participation. It’s important to get as many people involved with what someone wants to do, to make the group feel like they are contributing to the greater good.
A large part of community involvement is the use of group funds. The more things you spend the group money on the more people feel like it’s something they have personally spent, even if they haven’t paid dues in a year. The process still makes them feel involved. At the very minimum group gear should be maintained by the group fund. The key is to try and build up the group funds to be able to do all the things you’d like to do, which can be difficult. This can be done through dues, fundraisers and donations.
In many cases donations are not the best idea, fundraisers are better at creating a sense of community. Donations are fine and they are helpful but if a person is donating something other than money, such as a meal, then that donation could just as easily be turned into a group fundraiser. It’s all about perspective.
For example if you want to donate a meal you could make a post beforehand talking about it and saying something like “Potluck time! I’ll be bringing “insert items here”. Everyone feel free to bring what they can. If you can’t bring food but want to help, money is always welcome. All proceeds will go to the park coffers!” You turned what would have been a free feast into a group event that invites people to be involved and possibly even encourages people to help build up the park’s coffers.
The key is to get other people involved before the event if at all possible. If you end up being the only person who brings any food then what you originally wanted to do is still happening. However it made it look like you were organizing a group event and not just donating a free meal. This creates the feeling of a group activity even if it turns out not to be one.
Now let’s say there is something really cool that someone wants to have happen at the park but the park doesn’t have enough money to cover it but they are willing to fit the bill, what should they do? I wouldn’t suggest paying for it all out of hand like they are willing. What I would suggest is asking for some amount of the cost to be paid for by the holding and they can cover the rest. This does a few different things. One it means that this awesome thing they want to have happen will be brought before the althing and there will be a public discussion about it, raising awareness and helping get the word out.
Two, it will give people a chance to offer their own money or give some alternative options they might not have consider. They might find that once they do a cost break down at the althing their might be others who are willing to help pay for the awesome thing as well. If that’s the case, it’s nearly as good in creating group involvement as obtaining holding funds, plus it would save them money.
Three, it once again gets the community involved so they feel invested in this awesome thing they want to do. This will give the community some sense of ownership in their awesome thing and create a greater sense of community involvement.
And lastly talking about it in person, at an althing, is more effective than talking about it on Facebook. There is an ineffable quality that online interactions just can’t match. Furthermore, having it at an althing brings a level of officiality to the process that will make people who may have ignored the online conversation pay attention to this awesome thing you’re trying to make happen.
The goal is to have the group be the center of activity as much as possible. While it often takes a person to stand up and lead, it’s important for the growth of the community for those people to involve the community as much as possible. They shouldn’t be shouldering the responsibility completely, especially financially. The group as a whole should be contributing to the good of the community as much as possible and using the group fund for projects is one way to involve the community.