1 - Forming a Group

Gain clarity, and give your group a stronger foundation by identifying:

  • Core volunteers – find people who have the personal investment (understanding of the problem and desire to take action), skills, and time/energy to start and sustain the group.
    • All volunteers – but especially those without all three qualities – need support and training in order to avoid burnout in a leadership position.
    • Conversely, the best volunteers can be people you know who don't have these qualities yet, but can become a leader with a little encouragement, training or help.
    • If you’re unsure about forming a Friends group, test the waters by trying a one-time project. Contact the WRC for assistance.
  • Area of focus or scope: Public park? Watershed? Private landowners?
  • What are the community needs that will be addressed? What niche will the group fill?
  • Check with other nearby groups who might be willing to collaborate and support your efforts, or offer training or other support:
  • Structure & Process: How will the group choose to organize itself? This depends on how many people are interested in being involved in a leadership capacity versus a participant capacity, and personal preference. Leadership can take on many forms. Some volunteers will favor a formal board with roles such as chair, secretary, and treasurer. Other groups have formed coordinating committees with point people for different functions, such as publicity, event coordination, work party leader, fundraising coordinator, etc. Still other groups prefer to function without explicit leadership, instead using a self-organizing process such as open space technology. Watershed Center staff can help you access resources and develop a structure that works for you.
  • Group name
  • Anticipated activities & frequency of events

Next: Documents to Guide Action