Working as a Group
This section looks at what is involved in establishing your group and explores how to keep things running smoothly and maintain momentum. A good place for groups to start is by identifying each other's interests and potential roles in the project. This process will often identify a variety of different needs and interests from individuals. The next step is to identify what different people can offer, identifying skills and resources, clarifying what people can and cannot contribute.
Using this information and together with the group's vision, it is time to consider how to operate as a group. Things you might want to consider include:
Catchment Area - It may be helpful to consider the geographical boundaries of your group, if applicable.
Name - This can reflect the area you are working in as well as your main activities
Group Structure - The type of structure you choose will depend on how you want to work together. Access to external funding may have a large influence on this. Structures can range from informal groups with members coordinating themselves to delivery discrete tasks through to formal groups with assigned roles within a committee. These roles must, as a minimum, include a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer but often includes other roles such as publicity person, volunteer coordinator, funding person etc.
Once your group is established with clear direction and an action plan to work on, it is important to pay attention to how you work as a group and maintain momentum. No group acts or interacts in exactly the same way but the success and enjoyment you gain from it really comes down to how well you work as a group. Here are some ideas for you to consider:
Regular Communication - Keeps the group focused, motivated and involved. Working out how to communicate should form part of your planning as more involvement in your project requires regular and clear communication. Methods should include regular meetings and the subsequent circulation of minutes to all members, newsletters and press articles celebrating achievements.
Be Inclusive when Making Decisions - This will lead to a clear sense of purpose, enthusiasm and ownership. Be wary though of some members taking on too much work. Allocating manageable tasks to all will create cohesive working as well as build skills and experience. You should also have a good understanding of expectations and be realistic about what can be achieved.
Celebrate Achievements - While seeing results is reward enough for some people, most of us like to hear that we have done a good job and that our work is appreciated. Publicly recognising people's efforts can both motivate and strengthen a group.