Steps to Starting a Cultural Community

The following steps will help you form a cultural community:

Step One:

Start to create a database of friends, family, and residents with the same cultural background and language. You may want include members that are not from the same heritage but are interested in the cultural group. Create the database in Access or Excel for quick access and updates. You can use the database to invite members to your first meeting.

Step Two:

Develop a survey or questionnaire to determine goals, activities, and meeting times of your new group.

Step Three:

Hold the first meeting, if you have the time, money, and volunteers, hold a small celebration or event for the first meeting. At the meeting, you can hand out the survey and mutually agree on the following topics:

• How often should the group meet and on what day?

• The location of the meetings?

The following locations provide free meeting rooms:

Chrysler Room, Chatham Chrysler
351 Richmond Street
Chatham, Ontario N7M 1P5
Phone: 519.352.4937

Tips for success: Identify an occasion to celebrate, teach language classes, or work towards a goal. Quick wins for your group helps build the momentum to establish a larger cultural community.

Step Four:

Develop operational guidelines to have a structured method to guide the actions of your meetings. Determine the rules to govern the action of the meeting. Create polices for minute taking, voting on ideas, or setting quorum – the number of members required to cast a vote.

Form a preliminary committee (have a few helpers to spread the workload) to establish the format of the minutes and developing bylaws.

The Robert's Rules of Order is a useful resource in composing these policies. Charity Village and Imagine Canada are resources to help you build your cultural community.

Make sure that you ask questions to help your cultural community forward – for example:

• What are the long-term aims and objectives of your community?

• Do you want to form a social club, preserve your culture or do you want to offer language classes?

• What is the mission and mandate of your cultural community?

Your mission statement should reflect the answer from the questions above. For help with developing your mission statement, visit the management help page.

Tips for success: Talk to other cultural communities and share resources

Step Five:

Elect your Board of Directors to oversee the governance of the cultural community. The management help page on board of directors has information on board development.

Step Six:

Plan a series of events and activities to get involved in community. Events and activities allow the wider community to become more aware of your cultural community.

Step Seven:

Plan a budget - research different grants or funding opportunities to help fund your projects and initiatives.

Some grants require an incorporation number. The Corporation Centre has general questions and answers on incorporating a group or club. For more information on how to apply, please go to the Attorney General website.

Tips for success: Take it slow and remember that starting a new group takes time, have patience!