What specific strategies can new organizations use to build meaningful relationships with the movers and shakers within a community?
updated by @olinda-ricard-hodge: 10/24/16 03:45:18PM
good morning -
sounds like you have a clear idea about who you want to connect with...couple of thoughts...from work with the Communities That Care process.....there often were two (aren't there always "two" of everything?) distinct groups of key leaders: those who held appointed or elected positions of authority and others who people seemed to naturally listen to but who seemed to rarely hold official positions.
contact with the former seems relatively direct,; but,with the second, i've learned much from the group that has furthered paul wellstone's campaign strategy of going door to door and listening a lot...seems like a lot of work; however, it is manageable of everyone associated with an organization get out and start a lot of conversations -along the lines of "appreciative inquiry" .......building trust by making and keeping promises (small ones that you can fulfill for sure) related to people's stated concerns/interests is also a component of the relationship building process.
its far from rocket science, right? its just getting out into the community, learning what's really important to people and finding ways that you, your organization's membership, and the organization can serve their interests and doing it.
the greater your organization's penetration into the lives of everyday people in your community the more likely you are to change the conversations in the community that happen on front porches, phones, coffee shops, or on email even when you are not in the conversation yourself and that's a sign that you are having an impact and relationships are growing, i think.
time for more coffee...have a good day
Thank you for the lengthy response; it was a reminder to get back to the basics of community. I often struggle with the fear of stepping on the toes of others, particularly the "gatekeepers," although I can readily identify areas of lack.