Ok, now you know all about Boomerang Bags, what do you need to do to get the wheels in motion?
Boomerang Bags is an adaptable project. The Toolkit isn’t designed to be read in any particular order, but if you’re not sure where to start, below are a few key steps to consider.
1. With the Boomerang Bags family
While the concept is similar across Boomerang Bags groups, there are so many different ways of doing things. The ‘Boomerang Bags Communities’ Facebook group is a place for community coordinators and volunteers to openly connect, socialise, share ideas, challenges and highlights, ask questions (not answered in the Toolkit) and support each other. It’s our tribe!
If you haven’t already, we recommend joining the group to check out what’s happening in other areas. Feel free to introduce yourself and the birth of your new Boomerang Bags community, or simply check out the stories, ideas, photos and files for inspiration! Oh, and be sure to answer the questions asked when requesting to join (unfortunately due to spammers, it helps us to know who you are before opening the door).
2. With BBHQ (Boomerang Bags Headquarters)
If you get stuck, have questions or simply want to brainstorm some ideas, feel free to get in touch with us by phone or email (Skype or WhatsApp can be arranged for those outside of Australia). We do receive a lot of enquiries, so as a first step, check out the FAQ’s, Toolkit and Boomerang Bags Communities Facebook Group as the answers may already be there.
We’ll check in with you too from time to time, with relevant updates, or questions that help us to revise and update this toolkit. Keep an eye out for updates via email and Boomerang Bags Communities facebook group.
Contact us on email@example.com,
Jordyn 0425 345 066 or Tania 0410 552 025
3. With a nearby BB community
As the movement grows, it’s becoming more and more likely that there may be an existing community in a neighbouring town or suburb. Check out the map to find your nearest community, and if right for you, get in touch or join one of their local activities to get a feel for what’s involved. They will no doubt have valuable insight, experience or resources to share!
If you haven’t already, it’s a great idea to add your new community to the map. This ensures that your local group is visible to the wider community, and reachable to anyone who wants to donate or volunteer. It also helps us to measure the collective impact of Boomerang Bags around the globe! See ‘How to use the Community Hub’ for more details.
4. With your local community
If you plan to open the project up to the wider community, start to introduce the concept to the locals to gauge whether there is interest from people to support you.
One person can make a huge difference, so if you have material and a machine, it’s as simple as sewing a bag, whether its just you, your craft group, or your entire village. Each bag is a conversation and you will be surprised (and delighted!) with the conversations they create.
Using social media to connect with your local community
If you are part of an existing plastic-bag free campaign, environmental or community organisation, using their existing Facebook page is a great way to promote your local Boomerang Bags activities.
Start a Facebook Group
Groups are a great way to engage with your core team of volunteers and supporters. If you have any trouble setting up your group, this Facebook guide will provide direction.
Most people have an email address, so this can be a great way to connect (particularly with those who prefer not to use Facebook). You might want to consider setting up an email especially for the coordination of your Boomerang Bags group. This is particularly useful if there is more than one coordinator, or if the coordinator role is likely to change hands at some stage throughout the project. GMAIL is a free and easy to use platform. The email could be something like firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, as examples.
Arrange a meeting or get-together to connect with all those interested in volunteering, and start to plan your first activities. This is a good place to get to know each other (if you don’t already), and discuss logistics such as:
- Agree on community name and preferred logo
- How to logo the bags – screen print, red labels or other
- Volunteer capacity and delegation of roles
- What existing resources are there to rally wider support (sewing bee locations, local groups, volunteers, students, Council, and so on)
- Plan your first activity (which could be as simple as starting to collect fabric, creating a to-do list, contacting some local groups, schools, etc)
- Add your new community to the global map
We recommend making this process fun and lighthearted by sharing over tea, coffee and or snacks.
Once you have your team together and a (rough) plan, there’s no stopping you!
Check out – ‘Sourcing Fabric/Materials’ for more information and ideas about where to find fabric.
Make Bags !
It doesn’t have to be a fully fledged bag-making bee – you may just like to make a bag or two at home to get familiar with the process, which you can then teach to other volunteers at future events. Check out ‘Making Bags’ for tips and patterns.
When you registered to see the Toolkit, you will have received an email with the Toolkit details, including a link to ‘CREATE YOUR COMMUNITY’.
This is where you can add your new Boomerang Bags group to the communities map, so that people can contact you directly (and securely) to donate materials, volunteer their time, or simply connect. Keep in mind that the information you enter into the form will be displayed publicly on the Boomerang Bags website map.
The Community Hub also allows us to measure the collective impact of Boomerang Bags globally, such as the number of communities, the number of bags made (and therefore material diverted from landfill) and volunteer participation. These details will not be shared publicly, and will be used only for the purposes of tallying the collective impact.
You can jump into the Community Hub at any time to update your community details, contacts and so forth, as well as update your community statistics (e.g number of bags made).
Volunteer participation :
In order to keep track of how many volunteers have been involved in your project, we suggest having a ‘sign up sheet’ or book to collect the names and contacts of your volunteers. This is a good way to keep your contacts all in one place, as well as allow you to count how many people have been involved since you started.
Number of bags made :
The main reason for collecting the number of bags made is so that we can estimate the amount of post consumer material diverted from landfill as a result of the project. It’s important to emphasise here that Boomerang Bags is not about making as many bags as possible, but rather to create conversations and awareness, connect and have fun in the process of making bags (however many bags that may be). Making one bag is as good as making one hundred!
Through multiple events, with volunteers sewing together and separately it can be easy to lose track of how many bags have been made. Below are a few suggestions to keep track of bag numbers:
- Count the labels purchased or screen-printed before they are sewn onto bags (add the numbers to a logbook after every printing session)
- Use fabric pens to write the bag number on each completed bag (see example images)
- Dedicate a trusted bag-number keeper, who records all new bags made as they come through (using whatever method suits!)
Below are some instructions to edit your community details as they are displayed on the map, or add to your bag tallies:
1. LOGIN using your email and the password you recreated when you first set up your page. If you can’t recall the login details, you can reset your password, or let us know and we can reset it for you.
2. Once logged in, click the button in the right hand corner of the page to the COMMUNITY HUB.
3. In the community hub, scroll down to where it says MANAGE YOUR COMMUNITY PAGE and click EDIT beside your community page name. You can edit all details, including the community statistics in this page.
4. Once you’ve amended the relevant fields, click SAVE CHANGES at the bottom.