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Step 1: Identify the Community
The most sustainable and impactful FL Communities are those that have deep roots and support within the community. To build such Communities in local communities, first requires identifying and understanding the community. Therefore, conducting a community needs and SWOT analysis through research, community engagement and exploration is necessary.
Actions to Identify the Community:
1. Identify the community you wish to target and determine the border and boundaries that you will work within.
Where to Start a FL Community
It is possible to start a FL Community in the neighboring cities that lack FL Communities but also in the city or town in which your own Local Community operates. In a large city, one Community is usually insufficient. Any city, suburb, town or village with at least 50 motivated young people between the ages of 18 and 40 can be home to a FL Community.
2. Research the community and gather existing information and data.
a. Search online for demographic data (population trends, age ratios, employment statistics, etc.)
b. Review local newspapers and publications.
c. Reach out to local government, universities and hospitals for studies or surveys conducted around the community.
d. Meet with any local citizens or stakeholders you know personally to learn about the culture of the community.
Learn from the Community
While community stakeholders can connect you to young leaders, they can also inform you about the culture of the community. By meeting with government officials, business leaders and civic Communities, you can understand their vision for the future of the community and learn how FL can provide members with the skills and knowledge to fulfill such a vision.
3. Analyze the information collected to determine and familiarize the committee with the greatest needs affecting the local community.
As you continue to engage stakeholders and citizens, speak specifically to the needs identified and the challenges of the community to demonstrate the Community’s commitment to addressing those local needs.
4. Conduct a SWOT Analysis outlining the community’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
5. With your team, determine if sufficient resources exist to target the community and to impact the needs identified.
If sufficient resources do not exist, then identify another community to research and potentially target. If the resources do exist, then use the information gathered to further understand the community’s needs and to take the next step to enable the community to achieve sustainable impact by “Connecting with Community Stakeholders.”
As you move forward, be sure to Coordinate your plans with the Future Leaders International Team as well as make your intentions known to the surrounding FL Communities. They may be able to help or have contacts to assist you.