Most empowerment projects begin with an organizational readiness assessment. This can generally be done over the course of 1 to 3 facilitated sessions with key decision makers from within the organization. The goal of these facilitated conversations is to clearly identify the motivation for engaging in an empowerment project, to determine if an organization has the capacity to engage in an empowerment project and to identify key organizational, community and partner assets that can be leveraged toward the development effort. These sessions are highly interactive and are designed for small groups consisting of 3-8 key organizational decision makers.
Deliverables: Community Engagement Assessment, Initial Asset Map, Readiness Plan, Project Budget
Relationships are at the core of the Empowerment process. Relationships require time, presence and sustained engagement that is authentic in order to build trust. While many organizations define their mission based on a particular population or issue (individuals experiencing homelessness, single mothers, elderly, employment, etc.), a community building effort is defined by a specific geographically bounded area or affinity group. This can be a neighborhood, school community, network or association of individuals with a shared mission. This process of identifying engagement opportunities and ultimately selecting communities in which to pilot this kind of deeper engagement can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but is an incredibly important investment when there is no clearly defined engagement opportunity.
Deliverables: Stakeholder Mapping, Participation Level Assessment, Initial Asset Map by Opportunity
Discernment Team Facilitation
This includes building a multi-sector coalition, arriving at shared goals and discerning who should be at the table for an effective community building effort. In some cases, this requires the development of a Discernment Team whose sole role is to evaluate engagement opportunities and to make specific recommendations to the institution.
Deliverables: Engagement Opportunity Assessment, Recommendation of Potential Partners, Strengths and Challenges Assessment