KTB affiliates come in all shapes and sizes, but every community has the potential to gather volunteers and make a difference. In the past, we have registered events from as small as a family of four to as big as a city with over 1,000 volunteers. No matter what size your community or what needs you have, Fall Sweep is a great time to get everyone together and make some improvements.
Small Town vs Big City
We asked two affiliates to give you an idea of event planning differences/similarities between a small town and a big city. Keep Emory Beautiful represents a small town of less than 1,300 residents and Keep Midland Beautiful serves a city of over 111,000 residents.You would think these guys had nothing in common.Although their resources and audience are different, some of their tactics are very similar.
When engaging volunteers and members of their community, both of these affiliates use social media, printed flyers and group recruitment. Heather Rollins, of Keep Emory Beautiful, goes a step further by using the small town advantage of personal contact and face to face conversation. She often attends meetings for the Chamber of Commerce and local civic groups and has a strong presence in the local schools. Heather also volunteers and fundraises outside of KEB. This allows her to stay visible, create strong relationships and encourage others to return the favor when she asks on behalf of Keep Emory Beautiful.
Doreen Womack, of Keep Midland Beautiful, does not have the luxury of personally meeting her 111,000 citizens, but she does have the benefit of additional resources. KMB does not only use their Facebook page to reach volunteers, they also have a dedicated website, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Similar to Emory, they use flyers and group outreach, but they push further by tapping into local media outlets like newspapers, TV and radio. KMB even produces PSA's to promote some of their events.
With a larger audience to reach and more volunteers to recruit KMB uses every avenue they can to stretch across their city and get the word out. No matter what size your community may be, everyone has resources available. You may not have the same resources that Midland enjoys, but a little research can reveal multiple options in your schools, churches, civic groups and local businesses.
As Heather takes her time to educate and encourage Emory residents to get involved, a larger community like Midland needs to get the word out early.With nearly 1,000 volunteers to recruit, Doreen starts advertising KMB events 2-3 months in advance. They also offer flexible dates to get as much done as possible. KMB Fall Sweep will run the entire session of September 3 – November 15 and groups can choose their own dates and turn in data along the way. This will allow more participation in more areas of the city.KMB always sets an example by having their Board of Directors choose a highly visible spot and conduct their own event. They invite the media and use this opportunity to encourage others to follow their lead.
Averaging anywhere from 800-1000 volunteers per event, Doreen relies heavily on email and marketing to recruit and communicate with her volunteers. She saves phone communication for reaching out to their established group database. Averaging anywhere from 5-25 volunteers per event, Heather tends to focus on phone contact and put out personal calls when recruiting. She feels it is too easy to ignore or say no to an email, but not so much when you are chatting with the person directly. These strategies are very different and yours will be determined by your community and staff size.
Midland has another unique situation that makes them different from Emory. Compared to Emory, with its small group of long term residents, Midland experiences a lot of resident turnover coming from high paying, short termed jobs with the local oil industry. Getting life-long residents to take pride in their community is easy, but how do you encourage temporary residents to take pride and keep it clean?Doreen describes the secret to Midland's success.
"We decided if we could encourage community pride and participation with those that are staying and have lived here [for a long period of time], we could show those who are transient that there are beautiful spaces and places in Midland...[worth keeping clean]. We thought if our message was positive, then it would encourage a positive response.
We have simplified the call to action by asking businesses and organizations to just clean up their own sites, campuses, and offices. We also encourage residents that cleaning up their own neighborhoods can make the most impact. So far, there is positive momentum of Midland Pride and that every Midlander, no matter how small, can make a beautiful impact on our community."
Fall Sweep runs September 3 – November 15, 2019. Everyone is invited to participate and you can order free supplies and find more information at www.ktb.org/fall-sweep.
Blog Post Written By Karen Maldonado, Program Coordinator.