Contributed by
Communications Specialist
Student Stories

11 Steps to Create a Community Change Project

Every year our Scholar and educator teams create engaging community change projects known as Local Ideas Festivals. See the steps they take to identify a community need and work within their community to promote positive change.

1. Get Inspired
Our Scholars are immersed in inspiration during their week at the Aspen Ideas Festival. During their time they participate in engaging leadership development sessions, build skills and relationships, and learn from inspiring mentors.


2. Develop Your Big Idea
After attending the Aspen Ideas Festival our Scholars identify a passion they want to pursue. Through research, outreach, and ideation Scholars develop this idea and how it can impact others for the better.

3. Identify a Community Need
Successful Local Ideas Festivals combine a true community need with a Scholar’s passion. Once a Scholar has defined their passion, they engage and survey their community to identify a need within their community. The intersection of their passion and community outreach is where positive change happens.


4. Gather a Team
To implement a Big Idea, Scholars need a team. While Scholars and educators function as a collaborative team throughout the year, thriving Local Ideas Festivals identify and develop an effective peer team made up of diverse perspectives, skills, and talents who are also passionate about the Big Idea and who can and will help.

5. Plan
Decide what the Local Ideas Festival will look like. This could be an event, club, program, curriculum, policy, advocacy—the options are endless. Then plan for sustainability so that the Big Idea can potentially get carried on for years to come by future leaders.

6. Establish Goals
Local Ideas Festival goals should focus the team’s effort and ensure they’re working toward the target. Success is best measured by establishing goals at the beginning, such as measurable increases in community engagement, a certain number of attendees, or establishing a club by a given date. Scholars should focus on sustainability by designing a Local Ideas Festival that can grow and evolve year over year.


7. Engage Stakeholders
Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or institutions outside of the core team, whose participation in a Local Ideas Festival is essential. Stakeholders invest time, funding, or support to make an event more successful and have a stake in the outcome of the event.

8. Fundraise
Creating community change take time and money. When engaging community stakeholders and partners, Scholars must clearly communicate their need, mission and vision for the event, and express why outside involvement is critical to a successful outcome. Partners, marketing, in-kind donations, financial donations, and crowdfunding platforms are all ways to raise awareness and money for an event.


9. Get the Word Out
Scholars let their community know about their Local Ideas Festival by marketing, promoting, and fundraising. Local media, social media, and word of mouth are all ways Scholars spread the word about a Local Ideas Festival. The more people who know about the event and want to be involved, the more people could potentially be positively influenced.

10. Go Time
Host a successful Local Ideas Festival. Scholars build on their hard work throughout the year to deliver a successful community change project. Throughout their event, Scholars capture outcomes and feedback such as photos, written or spoken testimonials, or video from attendees to use for evaluating the outcome of the community change project and for future teams to use when planning the continuation of their Local Ideas Festival.


11. Celebrate
Congratulate, give gratitude, rest, and repeat! After hosting a successful Local Ideas Festival, Scholars are encouraged to celebrate their team’s hard work and success. It’s important to give gratitude to all involved and rest after all the hard work, before engaging their community all over again.

Contributed by
Communications Specialist
Student Stories

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