“Collaborate Your Community”

You’re a city, town, village – that is, you live in one of these and care about your community. Like everyone everywhere, you’ve got resources, you’ve got talented people, and you’ve got issues that need improvement as well as a future that needs planning.

Generally speaking, what’s the better plan for improvement going forward?
A. Locate new resources and talent in order to take a fresh look at an issue (e.g. bring in consultants, hire an organization).
B. Manage existing resources and talent in a better way, one that offers improved outcomes (restructuring).

Both actions can be good: certain community issues will require outside help while other issues may benefit from making structural changes in management. That’s always a choice, but regardless of which is best, how information is managed is critical.

Here’s a restructuring plan that helps promote networking and collaboration. The plan is relatively simple to implement, relies on existing resources and talent, is designed to respond to needs as time and circumstances change, and it is low-cost. It’s actually two programs, both designed to improve information accessibility and resource utilization.

Library Community Network (LCN): the local public library works with local nonprofit organizations to make services and activities more accessible to the community, and encourages collaboration between nonprofits, the community, and the library.

Community Risk Management (CRM): local government establishes a group consisting of department representatives in order to assess the benefits and costs – gains and losses – of proposals addressing critical issues.

LCN and CRM can be easily created by anyone with the incentive to do so. Each program has a beginning step that can develop further as time goes on and needs arise. LCN begins with a directory listing of nonprofit organizations serving the local community. CRM begins with a meeting of government departments establishing a process for evaluating and comparing gains and losses of proposals.