IFAS community development: empowering your community, stage 3, goal setting and strategy formulation

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IFAS community development: empowering your community, stage 3, goal setting and strategy formulation
Cantrell, Randall
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IFAS Community Development: Empowering Your Community, Stage 3, Goal Setting and Strategy Formulation 1 M ark .A. Brennan Muthusami Kumaran, Randall Cantrell, and Michael Spranger 2 This paper is part of a series of discussions on community development. This series includes specialized papers on civic engagement, community action, and other topics important to the development of community. Introduction Based on the previous stages of community action ( Initiation and Organization of Sponsorship ) organized local residents are then ready to move forward in the formulation of action plans (Wilkinson, 1991; Theodori 2004; Marcus Brennan Kumaran, Spranger, and Cantrell 20 13 ; Brennan Regan, Kumaran, Spranger, and Cantrell 20 13 ). In this stage, G oal Setting and Strategy Formulation the group develops a common vision and establishes measurable means f or achieving this vision. Such plans and action transcend the individual self interest of participants, as well as those of the groups or organizations that they represent. The goal setting and strategy formulation process reflects the tangible and measura ble general needs of the entire locality. The Goal Setting and Strategy Formulation Process The formulation of goals and strategies is vital to the development of effective action and community development efforts (Wilkinson, 1970; Wilkinson, 1991; Luloff and Bridger, 2003). To begin this process, the forces shaping the community must be identified. Relevant issues can be the deficiencies and needs of the community, such as the need for improved infrastructure, service opportunities, housing, or jobs (need s assessments). While issues that affect the community are often the focus of attention, this need not always be the case. Good p lans for action often emerge out of an assessment of human capital, social capital, physical capital, financial capital, environmental capital political capital, and cultural capital (Green and Haines, 2012) A combination of goals/objectives that include s both needs and assets is often effective because it show s the obstacles facing localities, but also the unique capacity that local people have for overcoming these obstacles. By assessing the relev ant issues and assets and then ranking them in relati on to importance and potential for achieving change, local groups can develop a vision and action agenda. This vision will serve as the general focus for action and community development efforts. Building Goal Setting and Strategy Formulation into Cooperative Extension Cooperative Extension professionals and/ or any other agents of change can help community residents identify key issues, evaluate local assets, and aid in the development of action agendas by local residents. Useful steps can include: 1. Identification of Issues, Needs, and Assets By bringing together the residents identified in Step 1 (Initiation) and Step 2 (Organization of Sponsorship), a broad based representation of the community is in place. This group should be able to speak to the wide range of needs, issues, and assets present in the locality. Participants can be asked to list these, and then the overall group can discuss and rank the list in terms of importance, as well as the feasibility of successfully achieving cha nge. This process of assessing local conditions can take place in individual meetings or during the course of several sessions, depending on the complexity or scope of conditions facing the locality. The end result of these sessions should be an agreed upon vision of what participants think the community should look like in the foreseeable future 2. Establishing Priorities and Organizing Participants Based on the issues and assets identified, local residents can begin to develop plans to achieve community change. Once the rating and prioritization of issues and assets ha ve taken place, specific measurable and achievable goals should be established. In practice, most action efforts will contain more than one area of focus. To adequately address these multiple areas and to est ablish goals for achieving change for each, it is useful to form subgroups or sub committees. Membership on these groups can be on a volunteer basis or members can be appointed based on their specific skills, experiences, or other characteristics (these can be documented through asset mapping and other activities). While these subgroups are operating individually, it is essential that they be directly linked to the mission of the overall group and the goal of community development. Included in the actions of this group can be the collectors of local data on a particular issue (scope of problems, changes in populations, number of people impacted, local resources available to meet needs etc. ). The goal of these subgroups should be to compile usable and manageable data that can give insight into areas for local grassroots action.


3. Review of Data and Other Relevant Resources Using the data compiled by th e subgroups, a detailed overview of the factors shaping a particular local issue can be developed. This data and findings can be presented to the overall group, and potential scenarios to achieve change should be discussed. A diverse group of local re sidents can bring unique and nontraditional options for development to the table, which in other settings might not be heard. Included in this process can be the introduction of Cooperative Extension and other subject matter experts to present programs and curriculum that have been useful in similar situations in other communities 4. Visioning, Goals, Objectives, and Strategy Formulation With solid data in hand and a clear understanding of the issues, each subgroup can then develop their own vision statements, goals, and clearly defined strategies for addressing their goals. These are defined as: Vision statements: long range descriptions of the community which include local citizens Goals: broad statements of desirable and attainable change s Objectives: clearly defined and measurable, including milestones and logically attainable achievements Strategies: special projects, step by step methods for achieving goals, plans for mobilizing resources, and plans for drawing cross community support 5. Presentation of Goals and Strategies to Organizing Groups Following the formulation of ideas for subgroup visions, goals, and strategies, it need s to be presented to the larger group for feedback and constructive contributions from all group members. This allows for adjustments and improvements to the original plans. Obviously, depending on the group, this can take considerable time. At times, it may be effective to distribute discussions of goals and objectives over more than one meeting. It may also be useful to elicit comments and responses through e online and other flexible means. The more feedback that can be provided , the better the plans for action will be. Conclusion The organization of goals, visions, and strategies for change are vital to the long term success of local community development and action efforts (Wilkinson, 1970; Luloff and Bridger, 2003; Theodori, 2004 ). While plans for action can be changed over time, it is essential that, from the beginning, they be reflective of local needs and capacities. This allows more holistic plans of acti on to be developed and implemented. The goal setting and strategy formu lation stage is essential in that it provides a clearly defined strategy for enhancing local well being. This vision and strategy is a solid basis for the next stage, Recruitment which provides active local citizens with a framework for involvement in efforts to improve local well being. References and Useful Reading Brennan, M. A., M. Kumaran, M. Spranger and R. Cantrell. 2013 The Importance of Local Community Action in Shaping Development EDIS Gainesville, FL: Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication number: FCS 9209. Brennan, M. A., C. Regan M. Kumaran, M. Sp r a Empowering Your Community: Stage 2, Organization Gainesville FL: Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication number: FCS 9212. Green, G. P., and A. Hines. 2012. Asset Building and Community Development. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Luloff, A.E., and J. Bridger. 2003. Community Agency and Local Development. Pp. 203 213 in, Challenges for Rural America in the Twenty First Century edited by D. Brown and L. Swanson University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. Marcus, J., M .A. Brennan, M. Kumaran, R. Cantrell, and M. Spra nger EDIS. Gainesville, FL: Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publicati on number: FCS 9210. Theodori. G. 2004. Preparing for the Future: A Guide to Community Based Planning College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Cooperative Extension Service.


Rural Sociology. 35 (1): 54 68. Wilkinson, K.P. 1991. The community in rural America New York, NY: Greenwood Press, 1991 Suggested Websites Community Development Institute East. The Asset Based Community Development Institute. The Community Development Society. http://www.comm Community Resource Group. Civic Practices Network. International Association for Community Development. Mapping the Assets of Your Community: A Key Component for Building Local Capacity asset_mapping/ Footnotes 1. This document is FCS9228, one of a series of publications on Community Development from the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. First Published : September 2005. Revised: August 2013 Please visit the EDIS website at 2. Mark A. Brennan, former Assistant Professor of Community Development, Muthusami Kumaran, Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Management and Community Organizations, Randall Cantrell, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist for Housing and Community Development, and Michael Spranger, Professor and Extension Specialist for Community Development Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611.