Community Service Projects

Community Service Definition

Community Services can refer to a wide range of different activities with the unifying theme of typically attempting to provide some social benefit to the community. Community service endeavors can be broad, thematic programs, or can be more targeted interventions designed to affect a specific outcome. The role of community in providing basic services has varied over time and place, but especially in the United Kingdom, there is a history of active involvement and participation at the community level to improve the well being of constituents.

While a wide range of initiatives at the community level are launched all the time, some are more successful than others. The extent to which a service project is successful is defined by a number of different things, but careful planning is required in order to give it the best chances of having a meaningful impact. If you are interested in initiating or reforming a community service project, this article can serve as a useful starting point. It attempts to lay out some of the key considerations that should be taken into account when starting a project, in order to give it the best chances of success.

Planning stages

The most important stage of a community service project is the planning stage—careful and thoughtful planning can make the difference between a low or moderate impact project and a high one. Some of the key considerations include:

- Objectives—what exactly does your project aim to accomplish? What sector does it function in? What is the broad mission statement? How do you define or measure success in terms of outcomes?

- Scope—within the broad goals of your project, how much does it seek to accomplish? For example, if your objectives include targeting public health awareness to reduce HIV/AIDs rates, does this entail speaking at schools, or passing out contraceptives, or focusing on safe needle use for substance abuse?

- Reach and actors—within the community, who are the key actors that have a stake in your project? Who are the beneficiaries, and who are the service providers? What are the defining characteristics of participants—what is the most effective way of engaging with them? Is funding required from donors, and if so, how are their interests integrated into the process?

All of these considerations are important for any given community service project—not only will careful planning increase the likelihood of your project having an impact, but it will also help guide operations and participants/donors/volunteers by ensuring that there is a common understanding of goals and purpose.

Funding community service projects

In the current era of fiscal conservatism and recovery from the economic crisis, many people are daunted by the prospect of finding sufficient funding for their initiatives. Both governments and households typically are allocating less money towards the philanthropic sector. However, thorough planning and good communication of this plan it can make it much easier to acquire funding either from local governments (who typically have some resources set aside for these type of projects), or from the private sector or individual contributors.