Translate belief, conversations, and acts of compassion and healing into further levels of collaboration.
Six Steps to Building a Bridge from Belief to Engagement through Collaboration:
1. Move from perceived need to identified need
We have learned there is a real need to know what the real needs are in community. Many organizations only utilize the input from limited sources to drive their efforts based on these perceived needs – often these sources are within their own network. There are multiple benefits to a researched-based and data driven approaches to meeting needs in community.
“When strong intrinsic motivation is matched with research and due diligence, it increases the effectiveness of community engagement efforts.” – Brandi C. Summers Dorsett.
What are the identified needs in your community? As the Belief series inspires conversations across the nation around belief and the power of sharing your story, it is our strong conviction that these conversations can move to active community impact – with residents, school districts, city leaders, business owners, service providers, and mental health professionals.
The C4 Group utilizes The R.A.T.E. ModelTM (Research, Assess, Train, Evaluate) to research and assess the needs in a community. It is a resource The C4 Group developed for organizations to use as a tool to improve all aspects of efforts and initiatives. Utilizing The R.A.T.E. Model increases success and influence of efforts, cultivates respect from entities and community members, and broadens funding pathways. This data driven process provides an informed and targeted approach to meeting community needs.
“We have learned that there is a difference between doing things for the community and doing things with the community.” – Monty L. Hipp
2. Know the landscape of your community
Monty L. Hipp founded The C4 Group in 2005, he was compelled by what he learned during his time working in Washington DC: there were many entities doing positive efforts but there was a glaring lack of collaboration. He created The C4 Group Care Strategy to help diminish silos in community engagement efforts.
As the Belief series has compelled us to determine the strengths in one another, take time to discover what the assets are in your community:
What individuals and organizations are currently working to meet needs in community?
What are the resources in your community?
What needs are currently being addressed?
What are the funding pathways for meeting specific community needs?
3. Utilize the Care Strategy’s 4 C’s in developing your community engagement game plan:
The C4 Group utilizes a four-step developmental process in creating a community engagement plan. These are adaptable for individuals and organizations to utilize to create a framework and game plan for making a positive impact in community:
-Conduct internal and external assessments in order to facilitate a coordinated approach to meeting needs in community.
-Share the vision for community transformation and the findings from your research and assessments and how they are shaping your approach to making a positive impact in community.
-Tell the story of the good work being done across each of the sectors/participating entities.
-Determine who might be unlikely allies to join in the community engagement efforts.
-Identify and join with individuals/organizations that have past experience in working together.
-Foster strong connections and relationships with those in the community, potential financial strategies are strengthened through these strategic partnerships
4. Target what to lead, facilitate, and support (individually and collectively)
The Care Strategy identifies levels of engagement – based on capacity, budget, and mission/vision alignment. This approach also helps determine projected timelines for various engagement efforts.
As you research and assess the needs in your community, utilize the “E” in the above-mentioned R.A.T.E. Model to evaluate:
What efforts could you lead? What efforts could you help facilitate? What efforts could you support? Leading an effort will, of course, be the most time intensive. Facilitating an effort can often involve providing volunteers, space, and some time and help with details. Supporting an effort can be as simple as helping promote. This is a helpful exercise for individuals, organizations, and collective community coalitions.
5. Look for Untapped Funding Pathways
We have found that one of the obstacles to community engagement efforts is the lack of funding. Increasing collaboration efforts is directly linked to increasing your ability to tap into new funding streams. Often, funding entities are interested in collective community engagement efforts. Utilizing the R.A.T.E. Model will help you establish measurable results and proof of impact – and thus, increase your ability to access previously untapped funding pathways.
6. Utilize The Virtue Model for Community Engagement Efforts
The Belief series has been a beautiful avenue of expanding connection between people from all different backgrounds. As you continue to expand connections in building a bridge from belief to collective community engagement efforts, utilizing The Virtue Model will help protect these important new relationships.
As mentioned previously, The Virtue Model provides a permission slip for partnership across sectors. Rallying around universal virtues (dignity, respect, honor, compassion, service, etc.) helps establish where each entity will put the period and the participants’ commitment to stay within those agreed upon boundaries– keeping the focus on what matters to everyone. This approach fosters trust, cooperation, and positive impact.
“BELIEF is an exploration of the power of our diverse belief systems, faith practices and cultural traditions that connect us to ourselves, sustain us through the most challenging times and bind us closer together in community with one another.” – Belief Team