Building a Successful Community Initiative

I’m often asked:

“What makes for a successful community initiative?”  or “How can some people get things done, while others struggle?”

When I look at successful community initiatives that I’ve known, I remember an incredible basic needs collaborative in Baton Rouge, a national tech initiative for older adults in San Francisco, statewide capacity building initiatives in Texas, and some amazing Community Health Councils in New Mexico.

What all of these have in common are the following:

  • Leadership – having leaders with passion, vision, a deep commitment to community-building, and staying power;
  • Systems Thinking – understanding the broader system, trends, issues and what is needed;
  • Stakeholder Involvement – including a diverse community of stakeholders in the network;
  • Practical Strategies – getting things done, making tangible progress, and seeing improvements;
  • Collaborative Grassroots Built Approaches – involving different groups in setting priorities, shaping strategies that are meaningful to them, which align with their own group’s mission;
  • Community Footprint – sharing the message through outreach, media coverage, and connections with networks in ways that create a presence and a “footprint;”
  • Support for the Initiative – receiving diversified funding, in-kind assistance, political support, help from community groups;
  • Resources from the Initiative – providing resources from the initiative to stakeholders (like funding, program-related resources, technical assistance) and sharing the wealth;
  • Evaluating Work & Celebrating Accomplishments – evaluating work in ongoing quality improvement, sharing successes, and giving credit to the many people who make these possible.

I hope this provides power for your journey!