One of the many good things that came out of the current pandemic crisis that’s hurting national economies worldwide was just how a lot of individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations stepped up and helped badly-hit communities.
Local and big-name businesses, for example, gave back to their employees and many local communities in a myriad of ways. These good Samaritan gestures include giving out products and services for free and turning their facilities into places where food and other essential items can be produced to be given to affected communities.
If you run a business or work for an organization that implements outreach programs for neighborhoods being battered by the negative impacts of COVID-19, you should consider these five outreach ideas:
Hold free online tutorials.
If you want a program that is relatively easy to plan and implement, online classes on various skills and productivity-boosting activities are great projects to consider.
For example, you can offer piano music lessons via Zoom or Google Meet, where both instructors and students can interact and learn in the comfort and safety of their homes. You can also have cooking classes, finance and entrepreneurship Masterclasses, and other online education opportunities that can help community members learn valuable skills that they can benefit from.
The keys to offering the right online education programs are to identify what the community needs in terms of knowledge and skills, and then devising a plan that includes learning opportunities that satisfy those identified community needs. From there, everything else should follow the natural flow outlined in the community outreach plan that your business or organization came up with.
Establish community kitchens and communal gardens.
These two techniques aim to address both the short-term and long-term needs of the most affected communities, particularly in depressed areas where unemployment spiked due to COVID-19.
With community kitchens run by your organization or business, you’ll provide immediate nourishment to homeless people, as well as homeowners who have limited money to buy food and other essential items. You can set-up a community kitchen at a parking lot and serve food there or use it as a staging area from where the food is to be prepared and packaged for distribution (if the option of having people line up to get their ration is not possible).
Meanwhile, by establishing a communal garden, you’ll just plant the seed and then turn over things for community members to look after. If your target beneficiary community has vacant lots or has property owners who are willing to have their lawns converted into vegetable and fruit gardens, you only have to buy the seeds and fertilizers, plant them with volunteers, and then teach community members how to maintain the gardens. This way, they won’t just be accepting dole-outs, but maintain ownership of the community gardens that you helped set up.
Donate in cash or in kind.
Face masks, hand sanitizers, soap, and alcohol are among the essential personal protective and sanitation items that are in shortage in many communities. As such, your business or organization should consider donating money to procure these important personal hygiene and protective items. It would be even better if you’ll use your network to find suppliers of these essential items to strike deals where you’ll be given priority over procurement at discounted prices.
You can hand out your cash or supplies donations to local COVID-19 response authorities or you can coordinate with people in charge to distribute the donated items yourself. Whatever method you may choose, just remember to let the local authorities know about your program to avoid security and logistical problems.
For businesses, consider giving discounts and freebies.
As a business, you need to keep the cash flow going to survive the pandemic, so you should continue operating. However, you should strongly consider slashing the prices of your products or services to make them more accessible to your customers. You can also try giving away freebies such as alcohol and face masks for certain purchase amounts.
With these approaches, you are essentially helping out community members while still making money for your business. It’s a method that is both humane and practical for both sides.
Provide or facilitate employment opportunities to jobless community members.
The ongoing pandemic led to millions losing their job or being furloughed, thus putting them financially vulnerable. You can help community members earn money decently by giving them employment or facilitating job opportunities for them. By taking this approach, you’re helping them to support their families while keeping their dignity intact.
Just follow these outreach ideas and your efforts to help the target community will surely be a success.