The Power of an Authentic Invitation

Please join … The honor of your presence … Come out and …

We’ve seen them printed on fancy card stock, received a link in an email blast or maybe endured a robo call: an invitation. They arrive in many formats and for many different reasons, but the good ones always stand out, to me, because they were made with authenticity and sincerity.

Four years ago, I was invited to attend the Larchmere PorchFest music festival. I wasn’t exactly sure if the festival was “for” my family and me. I live in neighboring Buckeye-Shaker, a stone’s throw from Larchmere. Although we’re neighbors, there’s a noted difference between the two neighborhoods.  However, my friend said “Hey, why don’t you and your kids come and listen to some music?” She sweetened the offer by saying I could park in her driveway and could use her house for potty breaks, which any parent of small children can appreciate.

I think it’s important to note that her invitation didn’t involve me coming to work; she simply invited a neighbor to come out and enjoy the festival.

[bctt tweet=”Authentic engagement means making invitations in the manner in which you would accept one. @dearrington” username=”GoodCauseCLE”]

There’s something special about simply being invited to enjoy…it’s what made me want to get involved with the event. After attending Larchmere PorchFest for the first time, I was hooked. Watching my children dance and enjoy different types of music, being able to get to know the people in the neighborhood and making new friends.  I also discovered that people I knew for years lived right around the corner from me – it gave me a sense of belonging and even a little pride. All of this awesomeness was happening in my backyard!

The following year, because of an authentic invitation, I became a volunteer.

And I am now an officer and board member. Keeping with the tradition in which I became involved, we have made intentional efforts to invite our neighbors from the Mt. Pleasant, Woodland-Hills and Buckeye-Shaker neighborhoods to come and attend this year’s festival. We are committed to forging new relationships and sustaining others within the neighborhood.

Want to build or improve connections in your own community?

It starts by extending or accepting a simple invitation.

  • Make an effort to tap into personal biases that impact our decision to accept and offer invitations.
  • Visit The Good Cause Blog events calendar for lots of ways to get the whole family engaged, including the 2017 Larchmere PorchFest on June 17th!
  • Check out Cleveland non-profit Neighborhood Connections for more opportunities to learn about authentic engagement and community building.

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