Your community plays a significant role in shaping your personality as an individual. When you revisit your old town, the place can cause you to recall the kind of person you once were when you lived there. The community where you grow up helps you identify who you want to be and who you are as a person. And if you move to a different neighborhood, your new environment can affect your identity.
As you can see, this is why it’s essential to set the right tone in the community. Actively participating in the development of your community can make a massive impact on the community’s scale, culture, and resilience.
That said, how do you empower people to become active members of the community? Let’s find out.
Set Clear Expectations from the Start
There are two basic types of community members: passive consumers and active co-creators. Usually, people choose what kind of member they want to be based on the expectation set by the community. Some people don’t even contribute, and it’s as if they do not exist.
So how can a person choose how to involve himself in the community if no expectations were set? Most people show up and use their default mode as passive consumers. After all, it’s a safer choice. If the person is a new member, they would first take their time to see if their environment is safe and if they fit in it.
Being a co-creator can be risky as it requires initiative and sharing of ideas. This community member might potentially alienate people, break some rules, and embarrass themselves. And this is why communities need to set expectations. It helps people identify what kind of member they want to be and how they can make significant contributions.
Members can feel more involved if they have the chance to interact with one another. Community events are great ways to help people be familiar with other members in the area. You don’t always have to organize significant events with expensive budgets. Sometimes, interactive yet straightforward activities are enough to encourage people to participate.
For example, ask some business owners in your community if they want to give free classes for aspiring entrepreneurs. Make sure that the businesses you invite are related to one another. Perhaps you want to organize an event that will teach people about the real estate business. In that case, you need to invite professional real estate agents, mortgage company owners, or businesses that offer home renovations.
Define Roles for Members
Members, particularly new ones, are often confused about the most valuable and practical ways to contribute to the community. Similarly, it’s easy for people to change: their hobbies, interests, and likes change as they grow older, so their bandwidth to contribute may also vary.
As a solution, here’s how to define their roles:
- Provide different roles for various depths of involvement- from simple to highly intense parts where people can choose what’s perfect for them.
- Roles for different age brackets. For example, elderlies can offer mentorship to young members of the community.
Making Major Decisions Together
One of the best ways to promote involvement in the community is by letting people make contributions in decision-making processes, especially decisions that will affect the community as a whole.
For this to work, you need to implement a simple process of inclusion where people’s opinions can be validated as the leaders make significant decisions. Do you want to replace the water in the community pool? Are you planning to cut the grass at the park? These things may seem simple, but hearing out members can make them feel like valuable community members.
Providing a Platform For Everyone
Instead of forcing people to participate in the activities or events you organize, it’s much better to let people develop their ideas. From there, lay out some rules and procedures on how the community will decide which activities are okay and which aren’t.
In other terms, you need to provide a platform that will encourage members to participate actively and share their unique ideas with people. Yet this can’t be easy. Ideally, a community needs comprehensible processes and policies in place to cover the following:
- How the community chooses the initiatives and ideas shared by members
- How people can use the community’s brand
- How to manage ideas that involve potential profits, losses, and money
There are many ways to empower a community and encourage people to play their chosen roles. It’s all about how the leaders allow their members to freely express themselves as they participate in community events and organizations. Promoting unity is the key to ensuring that all community members are empowered to play a part.