When sharing ideas with your entire community, remember the same thoughtful approach in which you came up with them. To stay rooted in those intentions, consider the following tips to engage with your community most successfully.
- Partner, don’t pitch, your idea. If you pitch a fully formulated plan for a new project, it will become your responsibility. If you create the vision with others in your congregation, everyone will be invested.
- Focus on why. Discuss the need you want to address or the opportunity you see, and use this as an opportunity to learn more about the issue before trying to develop a solution. As others catch on to your enthusiasm and gain a deeper understanding of the need for action, they are more likely to be open to new ideas.
- When in doubt, ask. “What are your thoughts on how we can better support farmers in our community?” is likely to get a better response than stating that your church or synagogue must increase its food budget in order to serve all local food.
- Start small. It’s exciting to think about all the possibilities, and dreaming big can lead to great things. But starting with something that you and your team can manage is the best foundation for future success. Also, make sure to survey the existing resources in your community; it could be that another organization or faith group is already addressing an issue and that it makes sense to partner – rather than compete with – these people.