Phase 3: Build

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Randy Fath, unsplash.com

After establishing a focus and commitment, the next phase involves building and launching a plan of compassionate action steps to create a more compassionate community.

Step 7:  Build momentum by involving other community members, linking to community events, and inviting nearby communities to participate. Educate the broader community about what it means to become a Compassionate Community, and acknowledge the acts of compassion that are already working within your community.

By now, you have established a core leadership team that is diverse and inclusive.  You have assessed your community’s strengths and vulnerabilities in order to determine what challenges need to be addressed first.  You have made a plan for putting compassion into action, focusing on one or more issues that are causing pain or suffering to some group of people within your community.  Now it’s time to bring in as many community members as possible—let them know your plan, gain their support, and build momentum toward the well-being of the entire community.  Celebrate and communicate the compassion that is the wellspring of your plans!

Depending on the size and resources of your community, you will discover various channels for communicating your plan and enthusiasm to the community.  For example, you might use social media and/or local print publications to announce a kickoff event—which might be combined with some other community activity such as a festival or concert or some other celebration.

You could contact leaders in various sectors of your community, or those in nearby communities to build a base of support.  Offer to provide presentations for community organizations and groups who may be interested in joining in to address the issue that you have identified.  If your plan includes the need for funds, this is the time to gain the support of local businesses, community organizations, faith groups, and fund-granting foundations as well as individuals who recognize the need for action.

And then it’s time to get to work, to put your plans into action.  It will be helpful at times to “pilot” a particular activity on a small scale to understand if you are meeting your objectives.  Setting both short-term and long-term objectives—and constantly monitoring to evaluate them—will also be helpful, as that will allow you to make adjustments, remain flexible, and create new strategies when necessary.

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Step 8:  Monitor and measure your progress, and continue planning. Celebrate successes; learn from unsuccessful efforts and adjust subsequent actions accordingly.  Then share your experiences and your stories with the Charter community for example, by posting on the Charters website.

Remember that the Charter website includes many valuable resources to assist you—stories of other communities efforts and successes, toolkits to suggest resolutions to obstacles, readings about compassionate action that can inspire and motivate, and connections to other communities and agencies that will lend support to your efforts.  It also provides tools to help you measure and evaluate your progress—an essential and ongoing aspect of your work.

© 2021 Charter for Compassion. All rights reserved.

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