DExecuting the Plan
Coordinating City Services
Consult with city agencies to develop a menu of city services that can be offered to
grantees to improve the physical conditions of blocks. The city services are intended
to complement the volunteer efforts, not replace them. Government provided services
- Providing trash collection for block projects
- Repairing damaged or missing street signage
- Creating new tree beds
- Cleaning up illegal dumping
- Replacing broken or worn-out litter bins
- Installing speed humps or speed bumps
- Repairing potholes
- Cleaning vacant lots
- Removing graffiti
- Loaning gardening tools
- Repairing broken street lights
Conducting a Mini-Grants Competition
Develop a simple application process to solicit proposals from community groups. The application should include information on the required impact metrics and the menu of city services that would be available. Proposals must include: a description of the challenges on the block, a preliminary work plan and a basic budget that articulates how the grant would be used to address those challenges with volunteers. They should also include “before” photos for reporting purposes. Applications can be considered in cycles (typically four to six months) to allow for planning and coordination of city services. (See Resources section for a sample application from NYC Service.)
Advertise the grants competition broadly to ensure that all communities have access. Spreading the word via other local elected officials such as city council members can be particularly useful. Community newspapers may also be interested in reporting on the opportunity for their readers. Social media can also be a useful communication tool.
Select a slate of grant winners. Cities may find it useful to seek a balance between projects that would require significant levels of agency resources, guidance and coaching from the department working with grant recipients, and those that can operate with greater self-sufficiency. Cities should also look for geographic diversity to ensure a broad reach.
Working with Grant Recipients
- Conduct an initial orientation meeting for grant recipients (best times are
after work hours or weekends). The orientation meeting is an opportunity to:
- Determine which, if any, in-kind city services could enhance the overall
results of the revitalization project.
- Explain impact reporting methods and requirements for expenditure and
receipt tracking so that grant recipients understand city expectations
and how they will be held accountable for use of funds and completion
of projects. Completing grant agreements with community groups that
include clear, quantifiable metrics is strongly recommended.
- Request that grant recipients begin thinking about a long-term
- Based on the availability of city services, work with Love Your Block grant recipients to conduct pre-site visits with appropriate agency liaisons and project managers as well as schedule project implementation dates. To increase visibility of the initiative, coordinate mayor participation in specific community projects and plan for press coverage of community projects
Fundraising for Love Your Block
Love Your Block is a compelling funding opportunity for foundations and corporations
with a commitment to your city or specific neighborhoods or communities within
your city. Home repair/improvement companies, utility companies, local businesses,
national corporations with local stores, or community foundations are all strong
prospective funders for Love Your Block. Once you identify a list of possible funders,
you can approach them in person or by phone, letter, or email to request cash, inkind
services, or gift cards. In all cases, you will want to bring a short proposal that
describes the opportunity for support and how the funds would be used.
The elements of a typical proposal include:
- Description of the Love Your Block initiative
- How this initiative would positively impact the community (e.g.,
improvements in key neighborhoods, increased community ownership of
neighborhood spaces, more green spaces, increased safety)
- Proposed breakdown of gift cards or mini-grants (e.g., 10 projects at
- Metrics that would be collected to assess progress
- Information on Cities of Service (this is especially helpful for national
- Recognition plan for the donor (e.g., logo on volunteer t-shirts, branding
on your city’s service website)
After the funds are distributed and the projects are complete, provide a brief thank
you note and report to the donor. Typically, this report will include a list of the projects
completed, major successes and challenges, and any metrics collected from your
partners. If you have “before and after” photos or video from the initiative, include them
with your report.
In some cases, private funders may not want to provide funding directly to city
governments. In those instances, you should seek out a local nonprofit partner to receive
the funds and serve as a fiscal sponsor for the grant.
Recognizing and Thanking Volunteers
Volunteer recognition is an effective recruitment and retention tool. Research by Points of Light Institute and HandsOn Network reveals that recognition not only motivates volunteers, but also promotes public awareness in local communities. To recognize volunteers for Love Your Block, consider sending thank you letters and/or providing information on the impact of the Love Your Block effort (e.g., “before and after” photos, impact metrics) to those who volunteered.