Start Your Own

(reprinted from the Sunday Soup Network website)

The Soup program fund creative projects through community meals. We encourage others to organize their own alternative funding program. If you are interested in running a program like Sunday Soup, the following suggestions may be helpful. Soup is not an essential element, it is just a cheap and easy way to get started. We see this project as adaptable and user-friendly to all sorts of different contexts. Any of the elements may be modified to fit your particular situation.

How to Organize a Sunday Soup Granting Program

* Find a space for people to cook and eat soup. This could be someone’s apartment, a public building or a city park.
* Schedule guest cooks, purchase supplies and promote the event.
* Put out a call for proposals for your soup grant.
* Send proposal descriptions to each month’s soup customers and ask that they vote for one project.
* Establishing a consistent time and place makes it easier to build an engaged and committed community.
* Sell the soup for a modest profit.
* Gather contact information for each customer.
* Distribute the grant according to the vote.
* Document your activities and share your experiences with others.
* Think about other ways you can collectively fundraise.

Organize a bake sale, a darts tournament, a chili cook-off, or a team trivia night. There are lots of models out there to raise small amounts of money that can augment Sunday Soup. Think about fundraising activities that are fun, low stress, and affordable for your target audience. Be clear about where the money will go and provide ways for your community to get involved in planning events and make them as participatory as possible.

Detailed Explanation

Find a space for people to gather. When cooking soup it is ideal to have a kitchen space, but it is possible to rough it outdoors. This will require camping style equipment, or access to electricity for a hot plate. If someone is giving a presentation you may need to obtain a television, stereo, computer or projector. Once a regular schedule is established, hosting duties can be shared (so that one person’s hospitality is not exhausted).

The exciting part about being an organizer of a Sunday Soup Granting Program is the opportunity it provides for meeting new people. Attend some art events, attend a lecture at a local university, and seek out cultural producers in your neighborhood. Tell them about the Soup Granting Program and invite them to participate. Point people to the Sunday Soup website for reference to the project to help illustrate your intentions. Obtain contact information for interested people. Start networking!

Once you have secured a space, supplies and confirmed a guest cook, you will need to promote the event. This could be as simple as calling or emailing some friends or using social networking sites. If your venue has capacity, invite the general public by putting flyers in your neighborhood or at work.

The Soup Granting Program benefits from repetition. As with a book club or reading group, regular meetings can establish a dedicated community and provide an opportunity for conversations and relationships to develop over time. Depending on the group’s level of interest or availability, you may wish to meet once a week or once a month. Create a schedule. Use online calendar systems or pick a time and place that is consistent so that it can become part of everyone’s routine.

Document your Soup Granting Program meetings through video, photographs or any other means. Share your experiences with others through a group web log or newsletter. Use your email list to reach a large group quickly and efficiently.

Add your project to the Sunday Soup network!