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City of Philadelphia

How to Organize an Effective Cleanup

To organize an effective Cleanup, please follow the below steps.

Step 1: Surveying

  1. When organizing a community clean-up project, be sure to select realistic boundaries.
  2. Use a survey form to list each street and address where trash, bulk items, tires and graffiti is located and determine the method of removal that is achievable.
  3. List each lot, school, playground, rec. center or street you wish to have cleaned.
  4. Estimate the number of people and the amount of material necessary to remove the graffiti and trash to clean your selected sites.
  5. Take before and after photos to document the results of the clean up.

Step 2: Volunteer Recruitment

  1. When planning a clean-up always try to include every age group. Young people can make a powerful statement against other young graffiti vandals, and senior citizens have plenty of free time and years of valuable experience.
  2. Always remember there is a big difference between people who say they'll be there and those who actually participate in the clean-up, plan for less also.
  3. Make phone calls, do personal follow-ups, and use neighborhood recruitment to ensure volunteer participation.
  4. Non- Profit Groups are also eager to help in their communities.

Step 3: Schedule

  1. Choose a date. Most successful volunteer clean-ups take place on Saturday mornings. Weather is always a factor so have a rain date for your clean up.
  2. Confirm your core organizers and assign different tasks.
  3. Determine how and when the materials, equipment will be picked up. All equipment and supplies must be secure at clean up site. Organizations are responsible for any missing equipment. (Do not leave supplies unattended. Turning them in at the end of the clean up is a must.)
  4. Identify resources for equipment, and the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services Community Partnership Program for clean-up equipment (rakes, brooms, shovels, and bags). allow time for application processing.
  5. Although not necessary, things like coffee, juice, donuts, music and lunch are welcome additions to your clean-up.
  6. Raffles to local businesses are also a good draw for community participation.

Step 4: Get the Word Out

  1. Contact residents in the immediate area and adjacent 1-3 block radius.
  2. Use flyers, posters, internet and word of mouth to advertise the clean-up. Give out literature so all participants are aware of the programs that were used to help others get the same services. Be sure that ALL posters and flyers are cleaned up after the event!
  3. Contact the local media (newspapers, radio stations, and local TV news shows).
  4. Challenge your city council and local politicians for useful information.

Step 5: Clean Up Day

  1. When planning a large community clean-up, it is important to designate a central location as the point of operation, where volunteers can pick up supplies, receive assignments, and socialize during breaks.
  2. When choosing a central location consider accessibility, toilets and washing facilities, as well as parking availability (encourage carpooling).
  3. Have a sign in sheet completed, including the volunteers' name, phone, address and e-mail.
  4. Select team captains and make them responsible for any painting materials and clean-up equipment.
  5. Provide each team captain with a list of assigned site locations, as well as the overall objective for each site (painting, cleaning or both).
  6. HAVE FUN!

Step 6: Personal Safety

  1. Always consider vehicular traffic. Wear bright colors so oncoming traffic will see you.
  2. No horseplay, shoving, pushing etc.
  3. Encourage courteous and positive behavior with other volunteers and local residents.

Available Supplies

  • Leaf Rakes
  • Bow Rakes
  • Scoop Shovels
  • Digging Shovels
  • Sweep Brooms
  • Push Brooms
  • Sidewalk Edgers (manual)
  • Paper Trash Bags