Whether it’s a local disaster or response to the national effects of the worldwide pandemic, 211 is often activated to respond to the greatest challenges experienced by our communities. 211 is at the core of communities, answering calls, providing an empathetic ear and information about local resources as they become available. 211 call data is at the forefront of driving decisions related to funding ensuring that the focus is on the areas that exhibit the greatest need. We are uniquely positioned to provide real-time context on real life issues due to our direct to individual interactions. Furthermore, our relationships with community agencies, nonprofits and organizations are instrumental to our involvement in successfully solving the issues experienced by our community.
Collaborative partnerships are a powerful way to improve our communities. It is important that collaboration is as inclusive as possible. To help communities collectively act on the issues that confront them, citizens should be able to interact with each other in ways that produce new ideas and better solutions to problems.
Key partners in engaging your community should be:
- Individuals affected by the problem – 211 lends a voice to those impacted by community issues. Our position is unique in that we are directly connected to individuals experiencing the problem and who will directly benefit from the solution.
- Local members of community partnerships – The most obvious member in a collaborative effort will be the local community partnerships themselves, they are the groups that are working directly to change their communities. For example, schools and institutions of higher education, faith groups, and civic clubs, Continuum of Care (COCs), etc.
- Support organizations and intermediaries – Support organizations and intermediaries can provide technical assistance for community partnerships. These organizations can help community partnerships build upon the core competencies that are necessary for solving community issues.
- Local policymakers and governmental agencies – Local policymakers and governmental agencies can help create the conditions for community partnerships to be successful by providing financial resources needed to create long-term solutions.
- Grantmakers – Grantmakers can use requests for proposals (RFPs) to bring groups together around a common purpose. In doing so they can forge ties among different organizations and possibly tap into funding from private businesses working within the same community.
In working together to solve community issues, effective collaborations are essential. We are guided by shared values and principles that bind us in common purpose. Finding solutions to broader community issues takes time, courage, and faith. Time to develop effective action, the courage to trust, and the faith to believe that together we will make a difference.