There are many different ways to be a community of faith. There are the traditional ways that we have seen and experienced in churches, synagogues, temples and mosques, and then there are new and emerging ways of being in the community.
Church, Mosque, Temple, Synagogue: The most traditional understanding of these communities of faith today is the time spent during worship.
Outreach/ Building: How are we reaching out to the community in terms of programming? This works hand in hand with room donations and rentals that faith buildings receive from the many nonprofits and charities that share space with them. All of this is the joint programming that is with the community.
Social Innovation: Moving from the individual programs to a cohesive and outward facing strategy to make systemic change in the neighbourhood. Social innovation is the buzzword, but it is something that communities of faith have done for centuries.
Community Innovation Hub: Intentionally creating community within the space between the many groups as well as intentionally making the place a centre for all. Recreating the spiritual commons.
Coworking, Makerspace, or Community Innovation Hub: These are specific ways to create a space for smaller organizations to gather and be supported by the community of faith.
Getting the word out there into the community is an important job! But the great news is that there are a lot of co-conspirators out there that will think that the Community Innovation Hub is a great idea. Who?
- Libraries: Libraries are seeking how to engage, how to use their space for the commons as well. They often have small business training sessions, wifi, and they are actively engaging in a similar space. What’s different? They have a lot of resources, but they aren’t creating the community side of this work. Plus most of them don’t have the social innovation lens. But they will be running into these social innovators!
- Small Business Centres: Most towns and cities will have an arm dedicated to community economic development and self-employment. These organizations specialize in getting small businesses off the ground, but they don’t have a non-profit focus. You can get referrals here.
- Municipal Government: The local government is extremely concerned with the well-being of the social sector in their township. These are all of the additional services that help to make the neighbourhood a great place to live & work. So they are motivated to support your Community Innovation Hub, show up at events, and refer people to it.
- Business Improvement Areas / Chambers of Commerce: Similar to the small business centres, BIAs and Chambers specialize in helping forprofit businesses and will be happy to work with the nonprofits locally.
Want a Way to Bring This All Together? Try a Community Round Table
One way of gathering people and launching the Hub is to host a Community Leaders Round Table. A guide on how to do this is provided as part of the Community Innovation Hub Starter Kit for Communities of Faith.
Making space available is easier than we think! Often we think that we don’t have space or we are worried that we can’t make this work. We think that you’ll be surprised.
The majority of the time we see that the perfect room is underutilized. In fact, you might only have one organization or committee using it for one night a week. So it can quickly be determined that this is an easy schedule for everyone to be aware of.
The hardest part is not the supplies or scheduling the room. The hardest part is always having everyone ready to do this. So share all of this information & more!
The Startup Checklist is provided in the Starter Kit available to our members.
Now that you are ready to get going, you need to be able to give tours of the space. There are a few ways to do this:
- Adhoc Tours: Maybe you have people who work out of your faith building on a daily basis and would be willing & able for people to show up or book tours last minute. They should be quick 15 minutes guides.
- Scheduled Tours: Maybe you plan that you will make tours available once a week and that anyone in a given week that wishes a tour should participate at that time.
- Open House: Maybe you wish to combine your tours with a promotion of what you are doing. Here is where you could have an Open House, invite some existing hubsters, a guest speaker, and offer tours before, during, or after the event.
Remember that not everyone has been in a faith building before. They need to see it, to believe it.
The community will flourish! And no one knows where it will go. And this is okay.
There are many different directions that the Community Innovation Hub could take. The key is to foster and encourage the community, and then start following the energy.
There are a few discussions that can be encouraged once the community is ready. Below are a few ideas or find out about all of our Kits & Coaching options:
- Budget Allocation: Once the community is formed, you are ready to start co-creating what you need in your space.
- Dedicated Space: As the Hubsters’ social enterprises begin to grow, they won’t always need the Hub in the same way. They might be hiring people and no longer need the community in the same way. They might run out of space and will start to need full-time office space.
- Sponsor a Hubster: The community of faith might decide to sponsor a Hubster (a member of the Hub) and partner on a fundraising campaign or a joint event.
- Community Innovation Challenge (Design Jam): Community involvement is a critical success factor for the Hub. When the Hubsters and Hub is ready, one option is to host a Community Innovation Challenge. This is a design jam where people from the community from all sectors are welcomed into the Hub to discuss these problems and see how we might be able to address some / one of them collectively.
- Shared Platform: The community of faith might wish to provide the governance and backend support for one or more of the social enterprises that emerge. This allows the social or spiritual entrepreneur some running room to get their organization off of the ground and determine if there is sufficient energy for the idea to flourish. It reduces start-up costs and the risk of getting started.
- Cooperative: The hubsters might decide to create their own entity as a cooperative where they have membership fees and a separate holding organization for cofounding each other’s projects.
- Coworking: Coworking Spaces provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity to work alongside other like-minded business people. They provide space for working, meetings and workshops, networking activities and learning opportunities to grow their business on a membership basis.
- Makerspace: Makerspaces provide equipment, supplies and spaces for small businesses, contractors and hobbyists to learn and apply skills.
- Agrihood: Agrihood activities use space inside and outside facilities in rural and urban communities to learn and achieve results.
- Co-Funding: The hubsters could decide to do joint fundraising campaigns or to apply for collective grants. There could be a mechanism that is set up for grants to be made available on a rotational basis or as needed.
- Community Bond: The hubsters could consider doing a community bond collectively for leasehold improvements or for the growth of the Hub.
No matter how this evolves, going with the energy is key! The Starter Kit provides access to resources and templates no matter which way you turn.