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How to Start A Community Outreach Program

By TSS Barbell | Feb. 13, 2020, 9:15 p.m. (ET)

Step 1: Who do you want to reach?

The question you want to ask yourself is who do you want your program to impact? Still need help? Okay. What demographic to the area surrounding your club do you feel you can make the biggest impact?

In the San Antonio area nearly thirty percent of the population is either a veteran or actively serving our country in the military. So obviously for us this was a no brainer.

Step 2: Why did you pick them? (This will help with Step 3) 

What about this group of people stuck out to you? Why did you pick them over every other possible demographic?

For us we recognized that many active duty military members and veterans are extremely lonely during the holidays and need the support of our community especially during this stressful, isolating time. Military members based in San Antonio who may not be able to head home for the holidays need more support than ever from organizations like ourselves who coach and interact with this population. 

Step 3: How do you want to reach them?

What can you do as an organization to connect with this group and how do you want to go about it?

The opportunities are endless but here are a few ideas:

  • Fundraiser

  • Free Event

  • Donation

  • Social Media Post

  • Raise Public Awareness

Still drawing a blank? Here is what we have done. 

We invited all active duty USAW members to compete at half price with proof of military ID at our local meet “Scrooge: A Weightlifting Meet” in 2019 and each year going forward. Additionally, all active duty members and veterans who are not competing, but wish to spectate and have a welcoming place to go that Saturday will receive free admission to our event with military identification.

Our hope is that by reducing the cost of entry, we will encourage veterans and active military members to visit our gym so they can connect with the large percentage of our membership who are also military: So many of our active members can empathize with the challenges many of our veterans face. We hope that struggling veterans will discover our supportive weightlifting community and possibly get involved in our sport. 

Also we decided to partner with Mission 22, a fairly well-known non-profit that works to actively support our veterans who suffer from PTSD and other mental health issues. According to a Department of Veterans Affairs study, each day, over twenty veterans take their own lives. As part of our community outreach strategy, we are donating twenty-two percent of all profit  from our annual holiday meet, “Scrooge: A Weightlifting Meet.” This donations will go directly to Mission 22 to support struggling veterans.

Step 4: How do you make it happen?

You are going to need help. A group full of driven, strong, and friendly people is a great start.

Hint: Walk into your gym. Look around.

  • Start planning, figure out what and who you will need. And then figure out where and when you will start.

  • If you get stuck do some research! The internet is a great source.

  • Put your plan into action.

If all else fails, reach out to an organization in your area that has done something similar and ask for guidance. 

Here at TSS Barbell we run 6-7 local meets a year so for us the how was not as difficult as it may be for another organization. We are lucky enough to have a gym full of athletes who help us run our meets and support not only our in-house military athletes but the community as well. Social media is a great tool to get your program noticed and have your athletes help you share any ads or marketing tools you may use on their own personal social media accounts.

Step 5: Why should I even do this in the first place?

Chances are you will not only affect your community, but potentially may inspire athletes inside your own walls to do more for others. 

Creating a Community Outreach Program not only creates an environment that exposes your athletes to others, but also exposes others to your athletes. It is the perfect opportunity to go out into the public and show them just what you are about while lending a helping hand at the same time!