Organizing a group project is a rewarding, but huge, task. It requires hours of planning and talking with volunteers to organize and delegate the work. Nevertheless, with the cooperation of everyone involved, it can end up being not only a productive endeavor, but fun as well. It’s an opportunity to share your own passion with others to bring about positive change in your community. The key is to plan and organize everything ahead of time so that problems can be identified early and be fixed before the actual execution of the project. This is also less stressful to you as group leader and other members because everyone knows their particular roles and what is expected of them.
Whether this is your first time organizing a group project or you are a seasoned pro at it, here are some helpful tips to make it a success:
Define the goal of the project. What do you want to achieve in doing this project? It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many times the goal of the project is misunderstood by the volunteers. By expressing upfront what the specific purpose is, you can ensure that all volunteers are working towards the same goal and maintain cohesion within the group.
Draw up the timetable and budget of the project. It is also a good idea to check the timetable and the budget once in a while during the course of the project to ensure that everything is going according to schedule and the expenses are still within the limit of the budget.
Divide the project into major components. These major components can then be assigned to different teams. With this strategy, the project can move forward with volunteers working simultaneously on different aspects, instead of having to wait for one portion to be completed before beginning another. If components involve too many steps for one group, you can further divide the major components into subcomponents to be handled by another group. Delegation in small bites can help you accomplish more and prevent one person or team from becoming overwhelmed.
Schedule meetings and deadlines at set intervals. This way, any problems that occur during the course of the project can be addressed right away. If this is just a simple project, you can have the leaders and members meet once a week. If the project is complicated, you can organize more frequent meetings and meet the team leaders daily. This is the best way to keep everyone on track.
Maintain constant contact. You don’t need to be a micro-manager, but you should make sure you are available to your team for any issues or questions that may arise. And it never hurts to bring cupcakes! Small gestures will make your volunteers feel appreciated and cared for, as opposed to scrutinized.
It doesn’t have to be a complex process to organize a volunteer group project. Remember to plan early, communicate with your group, and lead by example. As long as you and your volunteers are dedicated, then everything will fall into place.