How to start a cleanup action?

Each country is different, so you'll have to be creative and figure out the best plan for your people. And don't be too optimistic about everything working out according to the plan. You'll have some surprises, and that's the fun of it all. So to get started - here are some very general guidelines and hints, to get going:

Build a team!

Together it's easier to brainstorm, get ideas, share responsibilities, and involve even more people. Spread the word among your friends, relatives, schoolmates, colleagues etc. Just show the videos available on our homepage and see what happens. If you have a bunch of people who want to start doing, invite them all to get together for the first meeting - this could be the real start of the clean-up action in your country.

To arrange the first meeting and start the action you need maybe only around 3-5 persons - ask them, what's their favorite field - is it communication, waste management, logistics, volunteer engagement, partnership relation or anything else necessary. First share your visions and then formulate a group vision that you all can relate to.

As soon as possible try to divide the lines of action - make each person in the team responsible for certain topic.

The team can change in the following weeks and months, new people are joining the team, maybe somebody feels they can't contribute so much as they thought they will - it's all totally fine. Just find reliable people who share the concern about waste and who are truly willing to change it and then start going.

Please notice - engage visionaries and doers - you need them both!

Fix the goals!

The next step is to fix the big goals. This is towards what your team will start to work now. Figure out what kind of event your team would like to organize - is it huge one-day clean up (see added materials), is it a series of smaller or bigger actions, is it cleaning household waste, waste around schools, at the riverbanks maybe. All the ideas are good! Just find out, what would be best for your country (is it illegal waste, is it household waste, is it peoples attitude what needs to be changed or something else?), don't hesitate to consult different experts if you do not have all the answers.

If you find a goal and concept that will make your heart sing and eyes shine, you'll know it's the way to go! Dare to set yourself some very big goals- It doesn't matter if nobody has ever achieved something like this before.

And the most important - commit to those goals, personally and as a team. Even if everyone else might say you're crazy, don't give in. There's always a first time for everything. If you can dream it, it can be done!

Try to be as specific in your goals as possible - how many people, how much garbage, who to involve etc.

Action plan!

Now it's time to draw a general action plan - fix the steps you need to achieve to reach your goals, make a timeline and divide responsibilities. You can start by fixing the certain action(s) date(s), between 24th of March and 25th of September 2012.

You might discover that there are certain people with certain expertise and skills that you need to involve in to the team. Don't worry, there will be many people with different experience and skills who would love to be part of this. You just need to know who you need and then start asking and spreading the word.

Find the partners!

It doesn't matter how efficient and brave you are, you can't do it alone! You can start by meeting with people from different organizations and inviting to be part of this as partners. Partner doesn't mean sponsorship, someone who just gives money and has their logo printed on a flyer. No. Find organizations who share the dream and can help with ways that are available to them.

If you can apply for money to some foundation at your region - please do so. But there are some other ways as well - many companies are ready to support by giving their meeting rooms or office space for free, some of them are ready to support by giving some equipment, some are helping with printing, producing marketing materials, printing T-shirts, giving free garbage bags or gloves for cleanups, giving their tracks for waste logistic or even helping with their staff. If you are lucky, they may even support by giving some money you could use for building up the team, motivation events, salaries etc.

One important set of partners are the local municipalities who can take on a responsibility to coordinate the volunteers action on local sites on the cleanup day and even more importantly - design and take responsibility on the waste handling process on the cleanup day. Approach them as strategic partners from the start. Show them how your action will help them, also on the longer run.

We have prepared some presentations (PPT) drafts we are happy to share with you, so you could use those while making presentations to potential partners.

You can also find the worldwide partners on our web, so maybe their local office is ready to give a hand to your team and your country as well!

Be aware, this project is unique. This is a world-wide project, one and only of it's kind. So don't be afraid to act different as usual. When asking for sponsorship, don't just ask for support in the form of things, give them possibility to be a real part of such a big event! Invite them to the team if you feel that they truly share the idea and mission. Be confident - explain what kind of project this is and ask what you need. And also let them think for you - how could they help? They might now other ways, that you are not aware of.

Organize volunteers!

Again - you can't do it alone. Even if you have your starting team you will still need to reach out and invite more and more volunteers into the team, into the preparation process. Let's Do It! is civic society project, which should be carried out by us - by ordinary people, who just care.

So build up the structure how to engage volunteers - maybe it looks like a pyramid, so every region of your country has their own volunteer-coordinator, maybe you have somebody who’s responsibility is to engage schools and universities, companies and organizations etc., maybe you'll find your own way how to do it and every way is a good way - just don't forget - volunteers are the most important part of the project. Not just on a cleanup day, but from the first day and throughout the organizing process as well!

Start to map!

If you feel mapping the garbage is suitable for your country, it's a good start. To estimate the real extent of the problem, we have created garbage mapping software - so that with the help of volunteers all the illegal dumping places can be put on the country map - with exact locations and other relevant data. This serves well when planning the actual clean-up day - to estimate necessary resources, plan the action of volunteers and logistics. But mapping is also a great tool to really raise the dumping issue into the limelight - once it's in front of your eyes there can be no denial anymore.

You can use mapping as a way how to communicate and kickstart the project - organize mapping weekends, put up a public question - how big is this problem really? Let's map it and find out together! You can start using the map on There are also mobile phone applications available to download - for android and iphones, that help you to do the mapping just as you go around.

Our world clean up map is free for everybody - just test it on our website and if you would like to use it, even with some extra-applications etc, please contact our IT-team and you have the best garbage-map available!

Prepare the budget!

It's easier to evaluate every cost may occur during the process if you have a proper budget. We suggest to make it as a table (see below) - so you can go it through line by line and see, if you really need money for cleanup or is there some stuff what could be covered by some other ways (by getting in kind, non-monetary support)? The standard-budget could be something like that (could be also totally different, it really depends what and when and how you will perform).

TopicPriceHow to get it?
Clean-up event costs
Logistics Municipalities will cover it
Gloves Getting as in kind contribution from company XYZ
Garbage bags ...
... ...
... ...
Communication costs
Media ...
Marketing materials ...
... ...
... ...
HR costs
Project coordinator Partner company will pay the salary
IT manager Volunteer
Marketing manager Volunteer
Marketing manager ...
... ...
Snacks for meetings ...
Postal costs ...
Phone calls ...
Transportation for team ...
... ...

As the project needs quite much administrative work, the hiring of secretary needs to be considered. Media cost is usually possible to get free (just find good media-partners), but producing marketing materials (CD’s, posters, videos…) still might need some budget.

The finance for covering expenses might be found from partners (companies) or from funds. There are usually special funds in every country or if country do not have their own fund system, then probably there are some foreign funds, who are focused on your country. It might be a good idea to ask some free help and advice from a consultancy firm in your country.

Be aware, that you need to deal with the waste collected during the event. Maybe you can cooperate with some transportation company, waste management companies or local authorities. If you need some information about how to handle the waste, please feel free to contact our knowledge team!

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

It's nice to start such a huge project, but people have to know about it, right? The volunteers have to know, so they could join, the companies have to know so they could contribute, the politicians have to know, so they can support by laws or resources etc.

Start with the message - what's your main message. What are you aiming for and why? Put it into simple and honest words. Then design a short slogan. It could be "Let's clean our country in 1 day", it could be "Let's change the world", it could be "We deserve a clean country - let's do it!" - look beyond the garbage and try to see what it actually symbolizes. Why is it there, what is the message? Do we lack care, respect, self-love, togetherness, belief that we as people can change things? Why is it there? And then put it as an invitation for the people to turn things around for the better, together.

Engage media, so they will produce stories, interviews and articles for free, invite media people and professional communications people into the team from the start. Ask the media channels to contribute by donating their advertising time or space. Be creative, be positive, look for solutions, don't fight anyone, unite everyone! Remember that you are targeting the mindset, not someone in particular. You are bringing empowerment and hope to each and every person that the better way is possible and that everyone can help.

Our communication team is ready to share the ideas and think together with you, so don't hesitate to contact them! And don't forget the internal communication, especially when your team is huge. The tail has to know what the head is doing! Put some serious thought into keeping everyone in and informed on how are you progressing as a team, right from the start. Also the public - be open about the whole preparation process and win everyone over by being honest, positive, and including!

The Big Day

Be prepared for the clean-up day. Maybe you need an office where to stay at the clean-up day, so the core team could be together and solve problems, welcome the press, communicate with team members and volunteers on the field.

Also rethink how you will get the info from the sites, the data, people' stories, pictures, videos. Don't forget to think through how you can get the final data from the action - how many people participated, how many tons or cubic meters were collected.

Design ways how people can share their experiences from the action and invite everyone to use them and then you will create an experience of a lifetime, not just for yourself, not just for your team, for the volunteers - you will create an experience of a lifetime for the whole nation!

Everything's ready? Let's Do It!