Building Your MLK Day Success Team

In planning for the MLK Day of Service, you must start by building your MLK Day Team. The team will take responsibility for the six major areas of planning described below. Depending on the size of your MLK Day initiative, the planning group may include six people or, for larger initiatives, six teams of people.

Each of these teams will have an outreach function, so it is important to coordinate these functions so that several different people are not making requests of the same group.

ONE: Project Development

This workgroup does the outreach to identify projects that capture the community’s attention and meets community needs. They work with community organizations to design and implement strong projects. Some of these projects may be specific to an organization. For example, a community center might need to have the facility painted or to have its reading corner stocked with books. Other projects may be tied to the community as a whole. For example, the community would like to involve a large cross-section of the community in building a playground in a local park.

The Project Development Team will coordinate its efforts with the...

  • Volunteer Recruitment and Management Team to establish the numbers of volunteers and special skills needed for projects
  • Fundraising Team to plan budgets and determine in-kind resources, such as supplies, needed for projects
  • Communications Team to identify projects and skills needed for promotional materials and press releases
  • VIP/Leadership Team to select volunteer opportunities at high-profile project sites for VIPs

TWO: Volunteer Recruitment and Management

This workgroup helps project sites recruit new volunteers to bring projects to scale, including the cultivation of the business community. They help with volunteer management, training and on-site supervision. They also evaluate the volunteer experience and create a system to capture information on participants interested in on-going service opportunities.
The Volunteer Recruitment and Management Team will coordinate its efforts with the …

  • Project Development Team to establish the number of volunteers needed for each project, including the most it can accommodate and the fewest needed to be successful, and any special skills that volunteers need to possess
  • Communications Team to develop volunteer outreach messages for recruitment materials
  • Fundraising Team to establish business partnerships for corporate volunteer opportunities and to secure volunteer incentive items such as T-shirts, key chains, gift cards, or discount coupons

THREE: Fundraising

The Fundraising workgroup’s primary role is to identify and secure financial and in-kind resources for the MLK Day projects while building lasting relationships with donors. To that end, the Fundraising workgroup will conduct outreach to local businesses as well as individuals, local community leaders, civic groups and others who have connections to resources that may help advance the MLK Day initiative.

The Fundraising Team will coordinate its efforts with the …

  • Project Development Team to list items needed for implementing community projects such as paint, gardening equipment, or a location to host a project such as an arena or other venues
  • Volunteer Management Team to secure incentive items for volunteers
  • Communications Team to obtain services such as printing to support outreach and marketing of the event
  • Event Team to identify a venue and sources of food or beverages, if needed

FOUR: Communications

This workgroup markets the service projects and volunteer opportunities, publicizes the fundraising efforts, and increases the community’s awareness of the MLK Day projects and events through multiple high- and low-tech media.

The Communications Team will coordinate its efforts with the …

  • Project Development and Volunteer Recruitment Teams to develop materials promoting service projects and volunteer opportunities
  • VIP/Leadership Team to utilize VIPs and leaders to promote the MLK Day event by providing quotes, appearing at press conferences, or writing letters in support of the MLK Day initiative
  • Fundraising Team to design messages and materials appropriate for fundraising solicitations to various groups

FIVE: VIP/Leadership

This group works to secure the support and participation of public officials and community leaders, who will act as champions for the MLK Day of Service and the issues being addressed through the service projects. This team will also identify opportunities for your organization’s leadership to showcase the work of the organization.

The VIP/Leadership Team will coordinate its efforts with the …

  • Communications Team to utilize VIPs, as appropriate, in pre-event day promotional activities
  • Event Committee to ensure VIPs including elected officials, community leaders, and leaders within your organization are given appropriate speaking roles at events.
  • Project Development Team to identify high-profile service opportunities that match the VIPs’ interests

SIX: Event Planning

If the MLK Day initiative will include opening and/or closing activities or other major events, the Event Planning Committee will be responsible for these activities. This will require coordinating efforts with the …

  • Project Development Team to schedule opening or closing events so they do not interfere with the time needed to complete service projects, and to organize transportation for volunteers from the event location to project sites or vice versa
  • Volunteer Recruitment Team to estimate the number of volunteers that may participate in opening or closing events
  • Communications Team to ensure that any materials needed for the press are at the event location on project day
  • Fundraising Team to appropriately recognize and thank project and event sponsors for their support
  • VIP/Leadership Team to ensure appropriate roles for VIPs at events

SEVEN: Steering Committee

This workgroup is usually comprised of one or more representatives from each of the other workgroups and provides overall coordination to maximize use of resources and shepherd all players toward community-wide success. The Steering Committee ensures that information is being shared among all the teams, and it creates and maintains the master schedule and timeline for the MLK initiative.

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