Tools and Tactics for Connectors

On this page you will find a menu of tools and tactics that Connectors can use to promote action and collaboration in their community. Each of these is meant to help answer the question, "What can we do in our neighborhood, school, or workplace to help more people move from intention to action?”

Click on the idea or ideas that most appeal to you, and connect with other people who may want to work on them with you. And if you know of other programs that should be on this page, we’d love to hear from you.

What Connectors do:

  • Connect people, organizations, and resources
  • Promote action and collaboration
  • Spread good ideas around the world

What we don’t do:

  • Take sides on specific issues
  • Push our own personal agendas
  • Support violent, illegal, or hateful action

Setting: Anywhere

  • Add a volunteer component to your association’s event

    Add a volunteer component to your association’s event

    Adding a volunteer or service component into your association, club, or other group event is a really easy way to promote the work of your group and make a difference at the same time.

  • Create a resource inventory for your Team

    Create a resource inventory for your Team

    One of the coolest things about the Idealist Network is that everyone brings their own skills, connections, and knowledge to the table. Using a simple template, you can create an inventory of all of your Team’s resources.

    3 Teams are discussing this
  • Hold a 3Qs Meeting

    Hold a 3Qs Meeting

    Created by Idealist, the Three Questions (3Qs) Meeting is a simple, effective, and engaging way to bring together people in your group or community, introduce yourself as a Connector, and demonstrate the potential for this network to help people make useful connections and move from intention to action.

    4 Teams are discussing this
  • Hold “office hours” anywhere to help people think through ideas and take one good step

    Hold “office hours” anywhere to help people think through ideas and take one good step

    For some Teams, securing a regular meeting or event space doesn’t seem to be in the cards. But thankfully, connections can happen anywhere Idealists are together! Instead of focusing on your physical space, consider setting up dedicated days and times in different locations where people can “drop in” to meet, talk, and start taking action. Hear how one Connector’s doing it.

    1 Team is discussing this
  • Incorporate service into your conference agenda

    Incorporate service into your conference agenda

    Conferences are a time for networking and learning, but they can also be a great opportunity to give back to the community you’re visiting. Learn more about how to add a service component to your upcoming conference.

    1 Team is discussing this
  • Volunteer speed matching

    Volunteer speed matching

    Modeled after “speed dating” (in which pairs of potential romantic partners are given only a few minutes to meet and talk before deciding if they want to proceed), volunteer speed matching allows lots of potential volunteers to “meet” lots of organizations in the span of one morning or afternoon. Learn how you can hold one of these fun, engaging, and useful events.

    1 Team is discussing this

Setting: Higher Education

  • Add local community service to study abroad programs

    Add local community service to study abroad programs

    Study abroad experiences can shape one’s academic and personal life, and some schools are beginning to add value to that time by creating opportunities to serve in the local communities where students study. Learn more about how to bring this kind of program to your college or university.

    1 Team is discussing this
  • Create academic projects that benefit nonprofits

    Create academic projects that benefit nonprofits

    Providing actual—not hypothetical—experience in the classroom, especially as organizations want graduates who can hit the ground running, is a good thing. Even better? Taking on real nonprofits who can benefit from the pro-bono advice.

    1 Team is discussing this
  • Host a nonprofit career fair on your university campus

    Host a nonprofit career fair on your university campus

    The nonprofit sector is a great place to find a career with meaning. Hosting a nonprofit career fair at your college or university is a great way to connect students (and staff, and the community) with local organizations and their job (and internship, and volunteer) opportunities.

  • Host a volunteer fair at your college or university

    Host a volunteer fair at your college or university

    College can be a great time for students to give back to their communities and explore different areas of interest. Learn how one university in England has successfully put variations on this theme into action.

  • Loan assistance for careers in social good

    Loan assistance for careers in social good

    College debt can deeply affect the career path a graduate takes so they can cover their loans. NYU Stern School of Business explains the development of their loan assistance program for MBA graduates working in the public good - a benefit with a positive ripple effect beyond one’s bank account.

  • Scholarships in exchange for community service

    Scholarships in exchange for community service

    Many students want to volunteer and serve their community just for the sake of doing good. But some institutes of higher ed are starting to reward these efforts with scholarships to sweeten the deal. Learn how one South Carolina university put this win-win idea into action.

Setting: Workplace

  • Casual dress day to raise money for nonprofits

    Casual dress day to raise money for nonprofits

    Maximize your organization’s charitable giving program and support local nonprofits while giving your employees a break from the old suit and tie.

  • Donate time through pro bono services

    Donate time through pro bono services

    Those with skills in great demand, like lawyers, do a real service when they donate their time and expertise to people who need it. Learn how you can help nonprofits and individuals who could benefit from your support.

  • Enable customer donations through your business

    Enable customer donations through your business

    As a business, there are many ways you can support your community. Providing an easy way to help your customers donate to charitable causes can really help magnify your efforts.

  • Get your company to make meaningful product donations to nonprofits

    Get your company to make meaningful product donations to nonprofits

    Many nonprofits can’t afford to pay sticker price for services, software, and other products. Some companies are helping by providing in-kind donations or very deep discounts. It feels good, it gets your company's name out there, and it helps a lot of people in the process.

  • Give employees paid time off to volunteer

    Give employees paid time off to volunteer

    At Idealist, we believe most people want to do good in the world, but we also know obstacles can get in their way. Learn how one company is removing obstacles to help people give back in their communities.

  • Host a volunteer fair

    Host a volunteer fair

    Companies that make volunteering easier for their employees are doing great work. Why not take it a step further and host an event to bring together their employees, nonprofits, and the community at large?

    1 Team is discussing this
  • Offer community grants to local organizations

    Offer community grants to local organizations

    You don't have to work for a nonprofit to make a positive impact in your community—learn how to set up a community grant-making program at your company.

  • Volunteering as a team from your workplace

    Volunteering as a team from your workplace

    Bring your organization together and benefit your local community by organizing a volunteer service project with your coworkers. For extra points, put money allocated for company BBQs or holiday parties back into the community and host a service project instead!

Setting: Schools

  • Create a culture of service project with students age 10-12

    Create a culture of service project with students age 10-12

    Teaching students about giving back has a place in the classroom, especially when it has roots in learning. Youth Service America has created amazing guides for teachers on how to carry out these projects, one version of which you can learn about here.

  • Create a culture of service project with students age 5-9

    Create a culture of service project with students age 5-9

    Teaching students about giving back has a place in the classroom, especially when it has roots in learning. Youth Service America has created amazing guides for teachers on how to carry out these projects, one version of which you can learn about here.

  • Donate space in your school to local community groups

    Donate space in your school to local community groups

    Municipalities around the world share many of the same concerns. To tackle two of them—limited meeting space options for community groups, and lack of involvement in the school system by the larger community—a handful of government agencies in Seattle is partnering to provide one common solution.

Setting: Citywide

  • Host a civic write-a-thon

    Host a civic write-a-thon

    No matter your tech skill level, there are ways for everyone to contribute to online projects that make a difference in local government. Here, you can learn how to implement a crowdsourcing event that involves the community and begins a collaboration between government and citizens.

  • Implement online platforms to improve your city

    Implement online platforms to improve your city

    Whether you’re a municipal employee or ordinary citizen, delivering feedback to your local government—and getting it from your fellow locals—can be a challenge, but online platforms are proving to be one good solution. Learn how one community in Kansas is getting online to put their ear to the ground.

    1 Team is discussing this
  • Work with your local government for positive community changes

    Work with your local government for positive community changes

    Bureaucracy exists everywhere, but most famously in government, which makes some people shy away from working for change in that setting. But we say: take heart! Read on and learn how to work with local government to bring positive transformation to your community.

Setting: Neighborhoods

  • Create an online presence for your offline community

    Create an online presence for your offline community

    Connecting with your neighbors face-to-face isn’t always possible, so some neighborhoods are creating ways to connect online, too. See how one community is bridging the face-time gap and providing alternate options for residents to work toward social good together.

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