Your best advice: How to start and drive a small, informal social initiative

Dear readers of the DGMT website

You might have noticed we have a new information product called Create Change: Experience. Tools. Ideas. Through the Create Change resources we aim to equip individuals, communities and organisations with information and tools that will enable them to bring about the next big changes in South Africa. Have a look at our first issue: How to get South Africa reading to see first-hand what we are talking about.

We are really excited about the second issue which will be called ‘What will bring about the next real change in our country?’. This issue will challenge a very broad audience to start doing simple things that can change the life outcomes of South African children – and subsequently the future of our country. For example, using the Cape Town Embrace approach and resources, the Belville congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church is helping women in the church link with vulnerable/at-risk mothers, ensuring that they are supported during the critical first 1 000 days of their child’s development. Or we know of a Rotary club in the Eastern Cape where the members collect  Nal’ibali reading supplements distributed in newspapers and then deliver it to schools in their area. Simple things, but when done by many people, they can make a big difference[1].

We will offer plenty ideas and information in Create Change on the simple things that can be done – and we hope we will inspire, provide and link individuals with resources, information and support that will make it easy for them to do these things. We know, however, that if they can get a few of their friends, colleagues, fellow congregation members etc. to do it with them, so much more can be achieved, and they will have support and companionship, increasing the likelihood that they will continue doing it.  In practice coordinating such efforts translates into starting and driving a small informal initiative in a community, town, church, service organisation, school, institution, company, etc.

This then brings us to the reason for this open letter to the readers of our website. We know there is a very good chance that you have already started or participated in getting a social project going. We are looking for your best advice to others who might also like to make such a contribution, specifically to those that would be willing to coordinate and organise activities that could create space for others in their communities to contribute as well (without necessarily starting a formal NGO). There are many aspects to consider, but perhaps you have something particularly useful to share in terms of:

  1. Practical things: what to do first, second etc. helpful tools; what to budget for and spend money on; clever ways to raise money or to organise people; ways to get people involved – and to keep them involved; telling the story of what they are doing, etc.
  2. Personal inspiration and persistence: what to expect (realistically), how to keep going, great inspiring/helpful reads/movies/websites, etc.
  3. Anything else that you think would be helpful to understand or know about.

Please share your thoughts and links to resources in the comment box below or email Please also share this post with anyone you think might have helpful input to share. Thank you in advance. We very much look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

The DGMT Communications Team


[1] If you are interested in this concept you will find Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” a very good read.

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