This morning’s email at the Community-Driven Institute brought this request:
I need help finding a list of community organizations in order to form alliances.
This was such a pleasant break from the ever-present request,“How can I get grants?” that I thought I’d answer it here rather than individually, as I am hoping you all might have some answers I had not considered.
First, a philosophical answer – not the kind of thing an individual can use, but the kind of thing we have been talking about with community leaders throughout our just-completed tour. Put simply, it comes down to this: Communities need to build infrastructure that makes cooperation and alliance-building easy.
Community leaders often bemoan a perceived scarcity of cooperative efforts in their communities. (I say “perceived” because there is a great deal of cooperation going on already. Because community leaders often see life through a lens of competition, that can become all they see. But I digress…)
In response to those community leaders, we note that most communities lack an easy way for those who do want to find cooperative partners to accomplish that task – like the gentleman who sent the note.
We have seen great infrastructure-building efforts. One we found during the Community-Driven Tour was ConnectRichmond.org – an online resource for finding community resources. But creating infrastructure can be far simpler than what ConnectRichmond offers and does not have to be costly. It merely requires the intent to have those systems in place.
This would be a terrific role for Resource Centers (often called Nonprofit Resource Centers, but we are hoping that will change to Community Benefit Centers). If their mission is to maintain the health and strength of the sector, what better way to do so than to build cooperative infrastructure?
Ok, now for the direct answers to the gentleman who asked (this is where I am hoping you all will add to the list):
1) Contact your local United Way and Community Foundation. These organizations often have a list not only of the organizations they fund, but sometimes all the organizations in town.
2) If your community has a Nonprofit Resource Center, ask them for a list.
3) If your local city or county government fund local organizations, get a list from them.
4) Do a Google search for area coalitions. Insert the name of your community, then the words “arts coalition” and “human services coalition” and etc. Animal welfare, environmental, education. Ask those groups for lists of their members.
5) You might also search words like “association” or “federation.” (If anyone has any other ideas, please comment – too much Thanksgiving has left me dry of other words!)
Lastly, once you have compiled your list, share it. Send a note to everyone on that list and ask them if they want a copy. Be the change you want to see in your community by walking the talk of cooperation.
Anyone else have other ideas?
Curious about our use of the term “Community Benefit Sector?” Click here to learn more.