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Organize Your Group to Help Those in Need Life is full of ups and downs. Unlike a rollercoaster, the down swings aren't that much fun to experience. One by one, we will all take turns battling personal struggles...

By Abby Miller

This story originally appeared on Calendar

Life is full of ups and downs. Unlike a rollercoaster, the down swings aren't that much fun to experience. One by one, we will all take turns battling personal struggles on a physical, mental, or emotional level. Oftentimes it's a combination of all of the above.

One of the best qualities of human nature is the desire to help those around you who clearly need help. There are endless inspiring stories of communities coming together to help those diagnosed with cancer, who had their home ripped apart by a hurricane or have fallen into financial troubles. Just reading about these modern-day heroes is enough to motivate just about anyone to try and do the same in their local community.

Providing aid to those who need it most is more effective when you do so as a group. Many hands make light work, after all. However, organizing a group has its own unique challenges. This article aims to act as a guide for you to organize a group in your mission to lend a hand to your community in the best way possible:

Utilize a Shared Calendar

The best way to ensure a group stays organized is to keep them on the same page. Any pertinent information should be readily accessible to all participants. Perhaps the best, and easiest, way to do this is by utilizing a shared calendar.

A properly shared calendar should, of course, be done digitally. This way, everyone can access the calendar from their preferred electronic device. It doesn't matter if it's on a desktop computer, an iPad, or a cell phone. Every event and every note will be visible at all times.

Calendars are mostly used for event planning, but that's a big part of organizing your troops to help those in need. Each member will know exactly where and when they are expected to be for planning meetings, service events, or anything else you put together. Online calendars also have numerous helpful features, such as link sharing, color-coordination, and location sharing. C

Create To-Do Lists

Quite a few things go into service projects and humanitarian efforts. A quick glance at everything there is to do can be overwhelming at first. These events, as well as any others you take charge of, are much easier to manage when you have you lay out all the steps in a to-do list.

Start by listing out everything that needs to be done. This doesn't need to be in any particular order, at least not yet. The goal here is to first ensure you're not missing any important details that need to be covered. Be sure to consult with your group before making any final list. They may think of some items that you overlooked when drafting a list on your own.

Once the bulk of the list has been completed, prioritize the individual items. Anything that needs to be done as soon as possible should be at the top of the list. Separate lists might come in handy for different stages of planning and execution. For instance, you can have a preparation to-do list and an event day to-do list at the ready.

Delegate Tasks

Even if you're the leader of your humanitarian group, you can't be expected to do everything by yourself. Organizing a group is a group effort; everyone should pitch in equally. An effective leader knows when and how to delegate tasks to accomplish everything on your to-do list without anyone feeling overexerted.

Let's say you are organizing a group of coworkers to spend a Saturday preparing meals for a homeless shelter. As mentioned above, you should start by creating a to-do list of everything needed. Once that has been completed, break down the list and see what responsibilities you can divvy up among the group. Ask for volunteers to take charge of the tasks they prefer, then assign the rest to the remainder of your willing participants.

For example, you can have one person be in charge of bringing all the paper plates, napkins, and plastic utensils for people to use. Another couple of people can be entrusted with running the grill during the event. If one person is responsible for all this, they may become overwhelmed and more prone to forgetting details or making mistakes.

Apply Deadlines

Talking about performing is one thing, but doing is another entirely. You can stand around and talk about what you want to do for the community, but it won't amount to much if you don't put your ideas into practice. To get the ball rolling, you may need to set deadlines for yourself and your group.

A deadline introduces a sense of urgency into an otherwise wholly voluntary action. This gives an exact date that plans need to be made, and group members must come together to lend a hand. Procrastination is a lot harder when you have a date set in stone on your shared calendar.

To get your group moving in the right direction, start your efforts by joining a set event or organization. They will already have a specific date that you can add to your calendar. With this as your first event, you'll better understand what kind of preparation is needed for your group to put together its own service project.

Other deadlines can be set in the days leading up to an event. Pick a day to reserve an event center or get a grill slated for rent. Each deadline will help you and your group stick to your plan and ensure it comes to fruition.

Take Shifts

Not every act of service has to include a significant portion of the population in a super-centralized effort. Other forms of assistance can consist of providing meals to a family expecting a new child or visiting an elderly widow in the neighborhood. Even though you might be helping fewer people, your impact is just as great.

When a group comes together to help out in a smaller circle such as this, they can use a shared calendar to take shifts. Each person can claim a day to take over a meal or sit with the widow. Lawn mowing, dog walking, and chauffeur schedules can also be created and shared. Each person in your group will have a chance to help out the person or family in need without feeling solely responsible for their wellbeing.

Once everyone falls into a routine, the organization and your group's needs will be minimal. The only other thing you might need is a system for when someone needs to switch days due to a personal matter. Also, your group should be pretty autonomous until efforts are redirected to another needy household.

The moment you feel the joy that comes from helping someone in need, you might never want to start. Put together your group today and start working on ways to help those around you. The longer you work together, the easier it will be to provide smiles and relief to many people and families within your circle of influence.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Julia M Cameron; Pexels; Thank you!

The post Organize Your Group to Help Those in Need appeared first on Calendar.

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