The Council’s technical assistance (TA) services help to build the strategic capacity of individuals and communities to design and implement community change strategies, generate investment by all stakeholders, and develop a learning process that leads to improved outcomes and greater accountability to community members. The Council’s practices technical assistance as a form of capacity building. Capacities are built most effectively when there is:
- attention to building relationships that lead to partnership between providers and recipients of services as well as among peers doing similar work
- valuing the skills and insights of people receiving services
- reciprocal learning goals for providers and recipients
- mutual agreement about the methods and outcomes of assistance
- frequent reflection on and assessment of progress.
The Council’s TA focuses on developing the abilities of organizations and individuals to continuously:
- identify key issues and needs
- identify strategies and resources for addressing the issues and needs
- assess the effectiveness of strategies and implementation and to make adjustments that improve outcomes.
The Council’s TA focuses on several key areas of effective community building:
- strategizing and initiative design
- community planning
- using information for action
- effective collaboration
- community decision-making and governance
- organizational capacity building
- resource development; and
- reflection and evaluation.
In contrast to more conventional TA practices in the community development field, which tend to be oriented toward short-term interventions that focus on a particular goal, solution, or product, the Council’s TA seeks to build the capacity of initiative participants to design and implement community change strategies, to generate investment by all initiative stakeholders, and develop a learning process that leads to improved outcomes and greater accountability to neighborhood residents.
We offer medium-to long-term coaching and consulting relationships with staff or other stakeholders in the partner organization. Typically the Council and the partner identify a project that provides a context for building relationships and understanding the partner’s work, and through which the Council is able to develop the partner’s knowledge and skills in order to further the partner’s mission.
We work with our partners to establish learning networks that give them access to others doing similar work with whom they can establish ongoing relationships, share expertise, and develop mutual learning agendas.
We frequently use convenings such as conferences, workshops, and training sessions along with customized written materials as methods of providing TA.
Areas of Expertise
Strategy and Initiative Design
- Assist neighborhood organizations, intermediaries, and foundations with the design of community building initiatives
- Conduct community assessments to guide the development of change strategies
- Convene stakeholders from across sectors of the community to build a common agenda around issues
- Develop program implementation plans
- Design community-based participatory planning processes
- Facilitate comprehensive neighborhood planning processes
Using Information for Action
- Use research and data to better understand community problems, their causes, and possible solutions
- Assist communities to collect and utilize data to promote change
- Train communities in the use of a variety of information-gathering tools
- Facilitate collaborations of diverse stakeholders
- Provide models and tools for group management and decision-making
Community Decision Making and Governance
- Create and support practices and structures that increase decision-making authority of residents and neighborhood organizations
- Develop models and tools to assist communities in establishing governance bodies
- Train residents in leadership and effective community participation
Organizational Capacity Building
- Assist organizations and intermediaries to build their capacity
- Link organizations to training and technical assistance to improve organizational effectiveness
- Coach organization staff on effective management skills
- Coordinate citywide, neighborhood and organizational efforts to secure funding for initiatives
- Identify sources of support and services for community building efforts
- Identify and coordinate existing program resources to match community needs and preferences for modes of services delivery
- Identify effective practices and provide assistance in adaptation to local conditions and needs
- Identify and coordinate resident and consultant expertise to technical assistance and support needs of organizations and community building initiatives
Reflection and Evaluation
- Design and facilitate peer learning networks as methods for reflection, learning and program improvement
- Provide information and support on effective methods of program and service evaluation
- Provide assistance in design and implementation of program and service evaluation