What a #community wants…needs…

It’s clearly a budget, it’s got lots of numbers on it – George W. Bush

Prescribing solutions to community challenges can be tempting. Especially after watching melodious YouTube videos that advertise an organizations ability to organize a community with Colgate smiles as proof of their claims. We all have a Facebook diploma in some field.

Deal direct

The reason I advocate for direct relational experience is that it’s a strong reminder that a community is, essentially, a big human.

Hundreds of individuals who live/work in a specific location. They may never interact but their goals are ultimately linked to each individual fulfilling their chosen role in that community. If we’re going to be pedantic, then let’s go with thousands of individuals.

If, like me, you’re looking for a human-centered approach then keep your eye out for the humans who are most invested in the communities you’re hoping to develop. Everyone has a specific skill and it isn’t up to you to perform all the tasks.

Next, first step

First things first, admit that you’ve seen the need. Your entrepreneurial mentality is a wave that you’ve ridden to get a meeting with the right people. But now you’re on dry land and if you want to make progress then you need to learn to work with other humans.

What are the foundations of your passionate desire to make a change?

Is there a need?

Essentially, a community developer is selling a problem. Selling a solution was the first mistake I made. I realized that I was selling my idea of a solution without fully understanding what the community needs are. I quickly lost a lot of energy when I saw key players shying away from their responsibilities (responsibilities that I had prescribed in my fervor to make tangible change) and forgot to establish a mutual understanding between stakeholders.

Write it down!

Once you’ve grasped that understanding, write it down. Make it real. I’m still working on this myself and reading sections of the book below, I’m learning how to put word to thought.

Community Development and breaking the cycle of poverty


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