Communication Strategies inCommunity Problem SolvingInsights from Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grantees
Community Innovation Grants support communities working together to solve problems. Our grantees repeatedly tell us that communicating with key collaborators and community members is a major challenge to effective problem solving.
This may seem obvious at first—it likely did to them, too—but considering these tips as you begin problem solving will save you time and trouble in the long run.
Anticipate stumbling blocks.
Our grantees shared that they encountered these communication challenges.
With collaboration partners:
- Bridging differences in partner opinions
- Negotiating how to share data
- Breaking down silos
- Creating shared expectations of partner roles and contributions
With the broader community:
- Sustaining engagement in long-term problem solving
- Building shared community vision
- Keeping everyone in the loop about progress
“WHILE IT IS DEFINITELY IMPORTANT TO LOOK FOR EARLY PROGRESS AND ‘WINS,’ BIG CHANGE REQUIRES A COMMITMENT FOR THE LONG HAUL. COMMUNICATING THIS FAR AND WIDE FROM THE OUTSET IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO THIS WORK.”
Set yourself up for success.
To overcome those challenges, our grantees have found that intentional (and, whenever possible, in person) communication strategies work well:
Work with partners and stakeholders to broadcast your message to the larger community.
Establish regular check-ins to ensure accountability and engagement with collaborators.
Set aside time and space for collaborators to discuss contentious topics.
Slow down and take the time to build trust and relationships with partners.
Different communication approaches work effectively with different stakeholders. Adapt accordingly.
We want to know what you think! Does this information help you think about solving problems in your community in a new way? Share your feedback with us.