How to Develop a City of Compassion Campaign

How to Develop a City of Compassion Campaign

CityMAZE

Every city is different, with a unique history, a confluence of diverse cultures, languages, habits and histories. So every city will have a unique path to becoming a community in which compassion comes alive. What all cities have in common, however, is that listening to the call of compassion requires building a movement that calls forth the energy, imagination, and inspired work of its citizens. Creating a compassionate city requires two kinds of leadership: from the bottom up in neighborhoods, places of work, spirituality, and education, and from the top down, in the offices of the city council and mayor.

The information that follows has been adapted from DEVELOPING A COMPASSIONATE CITY CAMPAIGN.  The material was provided by Howard Mason from New Possibilities Associates, Louisville, Kentucky USA.

Planning Steps

  1. Conduct some preliminary research on your city: a) What are the major issues that relate to a lack of compassion? b) How are community leaders and organizations currently meeting these issues? What are the potential gaps? This can be conducted by looking for existing research, literature reviews or contacting local social services organizations or city departments (department of government and neighbourhoods).

  2. Draft the focus areas of your campaign: This can be in terms of sector or a particular issue or outcome you wish to influence through your campaign.

  3. Draft and document the over-arching goals and objectives for your campaign: The more focused and clear your goals and objectives, the more sustainable funding and support you will secure. Try to write some goals & objectives that can be measured or demonstrated so you can show the difference your campaign in making.

  4. Draft an outline of the type of roles/individual you may need.

  5. Assemble sponsor coalition: The groups and individuals who are seen as fair, neutral and credible to be bringing this Campaign to the city and asking for widespread participation. This group could also serve as governance if that were to become necessary. Have each participant affirm the Charter for Compassion.

  6. In collaboration with the committee you formed: Draft an action plan based on your goals and objectives, including a communication plan for your campaign.

  7. Establish a web presence: Create a webpage, getting a Twitter account, and setting up a page on social media sites Facebook) will add significant credibility to your campaign. Keep in mind that the success of these tools (social media) will require regular maintenance and activity. Please contact the staff at Charter for Compassion for branding guidelines and suggestions.

  8. Start awareness-raising activities to help garner support & volunteers for your campaign (dependent on your specific goals & objectives). These activities could include activities such as the Compassion Games, Reading Groups, events on Compassion awareness, guest speakers, interfaith events: Provide information on the Charter and the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities; local conversations on living compassionately; guide on how to host a conversation; and a facility for people to record progress or send in stories on the impact of the compassion work they are doing.

  9. Host several open, community-wide conversations: These conversations model and set the tone for the whole host of conversations that the Campaign would want to stimulate in families, workplaces, faith communities, schools, neighborhood gatherings, coffee shops, civic organization meetings, etc. These conversations would also be training for sector champions. Conversation questions: What does living into the Charter for compassion look like in our organization, neighborhood or city? What do we already have to support that picture of compassion? What do we need to do or commit to doing to making our organization, neighborhood, or city compassionate?

  10. Encourage many of these conversations in ordinary settings: Sponsors and sector champions promote and support conversations throughout community in in families, workplaces, faith communities, schools, neighborhood gatherings, coffee shops, civic organization meetings, etc.

  11. Build a coalition of community groups: Build a coalition representing a broad range of community groups. These groups will join with the sponsor coalition to present the rationale and assist in drafting a proclamation to the mayor and city council.

  12. Secure funding: Raising funds to support your campaign is important. Think of ways the projects you develop can generate revenue that feeds back into the program and can support volunteers and staff. Explore grants which may support your goals and objectives. You can explore creating a nonprofit organization or partnering with an existing nonprofit organization willing to support your mission for tax-deductible contributions to your campaign. .

  13. Make a presentation to the mayor and city council: Present the rationale behind the request for the mayor and city council to affirm the Charter for Compassion and proclaim support of a Compassionate Cities campaign. Submit a listing of endorsements, signatures gathered in support, and other compelling information if available.

  14. Complete the action plan for the campaign, if possible in partnership with the local city government: Very successful campaigns have teamed up with the Department of Neighbourhoods to plan out the specific activities that will be taken forward in collaboration with local organizations and other departments of the government.

  15. Announce Compassionate City Initiative: Resolution and action plan. Once the Charter is affirmed and the mayor and city council have approved the proclamation for a Compassionate City campaign, a public and publicized announcement (with the mayor presenting the proclamation) can be made emphasizing the Charter and the Campaign to seek endorsement of the Charter and participation in living into the Charter in our individual, family, work, faith, neighborhood and community lives.

  16. Recruit sector champions: These are people who can lead initiatives and activities that support your action plan and goals and objectives, the Charter and the Campaign--business (sectors might be banking, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, etc.) government (local, state) faith communities, non-profits, civic groups, neighborhood associations, schools and educational institutions, and criminal-justice agencies.

  17. Host several open, community-wide conversations: These conversations model and set the tone for the whole host of conversations that the Campaign would want to stimulate in families, workplaces, faith communities, schools, neighborhood gatherings, coffee shops, civic organization meetings, etc. These conversations would also be training for sector champions. Conversation questions: What does living into the Charter for Compassion look like in our organization, neighborhood or city? What do we already have to support that picture of compassion? What do we need to do or commit to doing to making our organization, neighborhood, or city compassionate?

  18. Encourage many of these conversations in ordinary settings: Sponsors and sector champions promote and support conversations throughout community in in families, workplaces, faith communities, schools, neighborhood gatherings, coffee shops, civic organization meetings, etc.

  19. Develop progress report: How are your activities meeting your goals and objectives, what difference is the campaign making in the community? Report significant findings to be reported back to everyone who participates in the Charter and the Campaign. Also issue a report to the community.

Disciplines of Those Leading Compassion Building

The goal of building compassion and transcending overt and covert violence is advanced by the capacity to generate, mobilize, and build four capacities in people.

  • The centrality of relationships: Relationships form the context in which compassion happens and also generate the energy that enables people to transcend violence. As people acknowledge their relational interdependency and recognize themselves as part of the pattern, they may be able to envision a wider set of relationships and take personal responsibility for their own choices and behavior. In short, compassion requires that people be able to envision their interconnectedness and mutuality.

  • The practice of paradoxical curiosity: Cycles of violence are often driven by polarities. Choices about to respond to conflict are forced into either-or categories: you are either with us or against us. Compassion involves the capacity to rise above these divisions and reach beyond accepted meanings. Paradoxical curiosity is a matter of respecting complexity, seeking something beyond what is visible, and discovering what it is that holds apparently opposed social energies together. It involves accepting people at face value, and yet looking beyond appearances and suspending judgment in order to discover untold new angles, opportunities, and unexpected potentialities.

  • Provide space for the creative act: Compassion arises through creative human action that happens out of the everyday and yet moves beyond what exists to something new and unexpected. Because new ways of thinking may pose a threat to the status quo, it is important to provide space for the creative act to emerge. This requires a commitment to creativity and a belief that it is possible to move beyond the limits of what is commonly accepted. This quality of providing for and expecting the unexpected is well-known in the world of artists and needs to be cultivated in the wok of compassion building. Creativity opens us to avenues of inquiry and provides us with new ways to think about social change. 

  • The willingness to risk: To take a risk is to step into the unknown without any guarantee of success or safety. For many people caught in conflict, violence is known, and compassion is a mystery. Because compassion building typically requires people to move toward a new, mysterious, and unexpected future, it may be a difficult journey.

About Us

  • charter brand transp blue mediumCharter for Compassion provides an umbrella for people to engage in collaborative partnerships worldwide. Our mission is to bring to life the principles articulated in the Charter for Compassion through concrete, practical action in a myriad of sectors.

CONTACT

  • Charter for Compassion
  • PO Box 10787
  • Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
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