Big Bowl of Ideas - Mapping Your Community Partners
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Big Bowl of Ideas - Mapping Your Community Partners



This is a tool I developed as a 'quick and dirty' way to think about the formation of a coalition and community campaign operation when I had to hit the ground running in a given city or state. It ...

This is a tool I developed as a 'quick and dirty' way to think about the formation of a coalition and community campaign operation when I had to hit the ground running in a given city or state. It also helped to jumpstart where to make my first calls.

Its designed to demystify certain anecdotal assumptions we make about potential community partners and allies while also ensuring a certain amount of variety in terms of strengths that are brought to the table for the coalition effort involved. For deeper study of coalition basics and strategies, I highly recommend the Midwest Academy book, "Organizing for Social Change."



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Big Bowl of Ideas - Mapping Your Community Partners Document Transcript

  • 1. Place Here: _______________________________________________________________ 2. Brainstorming on Potential Partners A. MAKE A LIST OF GROUPS THAT COME TO MIND that you initially think might be good to be part of this coalition effort ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ B. Now list SOME THAT WOULDN’T COME TO MIND QUICKLY/NON-TRADITIONAL ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ ___________________________________ ______________________________ MAPPING YOUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS SAPP 1. Your Agenda, Constituency Or Issue Cluster What are you trying to build a coalition for or ask people to come together around? (e.g. Support from Oakland African-American Community on Public Safety, Environmental Justice Campaign in a largely Latino neighborhood, etc.). If there is a particular Target or Obstacle, identify that as well.
  • 2. 2. Map them by sub-Categories, Impact, Values and Features 2A. Making a “PARTNERS’ INTEREST SPECTRUM” Breakdown your constituency/issue cluster (e.g. Oakland African-American Community) as best you can, thinking about the difference not in terms of impact or capacity but in terms of the group’s interest in relationship to the constituency/issue cluster. Plot these “sub-categories” into the smaller squares (e.g. Churches, Black-Owned Businesses, Civic Engagement, Youth, etc.). What makes them a potential partner in terms of their perspective, where they’re coming from? How do their interests overlap yours? What’s the angle? This is your “Partners Interest Spectrum” Now look at your list of groups Then list the groups from your list under one of the sub-categories. You can make the list as big as you want but think in terms of what may be most manageable for you initially. 2b. Making an “IMPACT VALUES/FEATURES” LEGEND (or make up your own): Using the “Menu of Impact Values/Features” on next page, select and list them below and attach a 1-2 letter code (“T” for turnout capacity, or “*” for Media for example). Then pick 1-2 most dominant features and place beside name of organization on your map _____________________ ______________________ ____________________ ____________________ _____________________ ____________________ ____________________ _____________________ ____________________ Now you have a ‘dashboard’ showing you the Interest Spectrum and Impact Values of each organization you initially brainstormed about. This should help you make some analysis.
  • 3. MENU OF IMPACT VALUES/FEATURES What’s being brought to the table by this partner? Here are some sample strengths (or drawbacks) we often think about or look for: TARGET/OBSTACLE PERSUASION LEVERAGE Effective Communicator to Target this is an Obstacle (Company, Decision-Maker, etc) Has Connection to Leadership of Target that is an Obstacle Has worked with the Target that is an Obstacle on something else/Knows how they operate Works with or has members that are also part of the Target that is an Obstacle; overlap MEDIA Generates Media Coverage/Good Media Operation Has High Name Recognition Can Mobilize, turn-out numbers of people easily Generates Excitement, Provocative Has a Strong Social Media Presence (blogs, FB likes, regularly updated website) Has a good spokesperson among its leadership or ranks or strong base of personal stories POLITICAL LANDSCAPE Effective on Political Landscape (Has a PAC, c4 Operation, Endorsements are followed) Changes Popular Perception of Work Has a good legislative operation (lobbyists, member lobbyists, based in State Capitol) RESEARCH/DATA/THINK TANK Does Research/Monitoring/Writing Has Credibility and Capacity to Generate Public Policy White Papers/Reports Has/Can Produce Useful Data, Lists, Information FIELD/REPRESENTATION Has membership or program participants that reflect the affected Constituency Represents/Known To Advocate for a Key Demographic within the affected Constituency Has Activists that are already part of and respected by the affected Constituency Is Only Concerned About or Will Support Part of Your Agenda But Not All Of It STRUCTURE Affiliated with a State or National Organization or Network Board Structure That Is Cumbersome But Impactful (like a big battleship) Is Able to Moving Swiftly on Decisions and Commitments Loose-Knit in its formation, processes and decision-making Essentially a “One Man Band” RESOURCES Could Make A Financial Contribution (Directly) Has an Interested Donor/Board Member Could develop a Non-Profit Project Grant Proposal or other Fundraising capacity Has staff that could be “in-kinded” or otherwise useful Office Space/Equipment Has A Cultural Programming Component OR MAKE UP YOUR OWN, BASED ON WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT PARTNERS” CAPACITIES OR UNIQUE FEATURES