Ishita Ranjan – Tips & Tools to Squeeze the Most Out of Summer

One of the reasons I stay a part of the Enactus network is that over the years, I’ve  seen some truly incredible projects. It never ceases to amaze me how students are able to come up with solutions that empower entrepreneurs and communities, tackle global challenges, and really truly empower people through entrepreneurial action.

There is no magic formula for what makes a project successful – a complex bundle of factors ranging from people, places, partners, ideas, innovation & action come into play. What is clear across the board though is that if you want to create a truly empowering and successful project, you have to put the (wo)man power in. There is simply no substitution of the sheer energy, time and work it takes.

And the best time to invest those hours into building your projects? Summer. 

There is also no substitution for summer. The summer holidays are the perfect opportunity to plan, research & lay strong foundations for your projects, and even implement them if you can. And it’s not just projects – summer is the ideal opportunity to build your team, from engaging your members to applying for funding. In my time as a mentor, I’ve seen several teams make the most of summer, so here are five top tips I’ve picked up along the way:

Plan, plan, plan: Create a summer action plan for your team and projects – a clear plan of action with tasks & deadlines is a thing of absolute beauty. Minus the pressure of exams and essays, people are able to dedicate time to Enactus as long as they have a clear understanding of what they’re supposed to be doing and when by. A plan to refer to also enables you to hold people accountable to their actions. Helpful tools: Project planning tools like Trello & Wunderlist can be so helpful in team planning and delivery, so check them out!

Collectively communicate: It’s really important to stay in sync with your team members. Just because people aren’t physically present on campus, doesn’t mean they’re not able to take action. As a team, it’s important to stay in touch so you can work around internships, holidays and summer jobs.
Helpful tools: Embrace technology and let Skype and Whatsapp be your teams best friends this summer. Slack is also a super useful tool, letting you stay in touch and also share files (think MSN, but for designed for teams!).

Agree goals together: As a team, write down SMARTER goals for where you want to be by the end of summer. It’s important for team & project leaders to take ownership over their roles and feel responsible for their goals, but they also need to have a sense of the big picture and how they fit in. One great way to achieve that balance is let individuals set their own goals but to discuss and agree them together.

Helpful tools: Goal-Buddy – a tool that helps to set & track goals and also this handy resource that includes a SMART goal setting template.

Use your support network – remember that you guys, as students, are the some of the very lucky people that actually have a whole summer off from University. Whilst team members may be off and about, your alumni mentors, community partners and business advisors are still at work, so use us! Summer is a great time to send those emails, schedule those calls and go for coffees & catch ups. It’s a great opportunity to build relationships with the members in your support network, and that will pay its dividends during the academic year.

Helpful tools: Your Enactus UK Programme Manager, Alumni Mentors & Business Advisors!

Recognise & Reward:
Every single member on your team is a volunteer. It’s so important to recognise and reward people for the time they invest, not just over summer but all year round! Whether that’s managing to get a meeting with a potential project partner, or sharing some great content of social media, make sure you create a culture of celebrating the small wins & saying thank you
Helpful tools: This Volunteer Appreciation Guide with some interesting insights! 

If you make the most out of summer, it will make a world of difference to your teams! If you’re got any thoughts or questions about this post, tweet us at @enactusukalumni or @callmeranj. Have an awesome summer!

About EnactusUK

Enactus UK runs in 51 universities in the UK, carrying out more than 250 social enterprise projects that use the positive power of business to help people in need - in the local and international community.
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