Key Questions to Consider

  • Who is most affected, and how can we assure their meaningful participation?
  • What is your shared vision and mission, and what changes will it take to get there?
  • How will we engage key stakeholders—including those most affected by the problem—in developing a strategic plan to guide action?
  • How will we adapt promising approaches to our context?

Core Activities

  • Engage community members and other key stakeholders in planning, including those most affected by the problem.
  • Develop a shared vision and mission for what the group will do together.
  • Outline objectives, strategies, and an action plan.
  • Establish an organizational structure, such as working groups or action committees, to engage those who can implement the plan.

Reflection Prompt: Ask yourself, your organization, your collaborators, and anyone else involved about thoughts, fears, curiosities, and hopes regarding the upcoming project.

Social Justice Prompt: Who is sitting at your planning table?


Planning to Engage Using the Social Change Wheel

Community organizing; Ashland, CA is a community in Alameda County that has faced high rates of unemployment and disinvestment for decades. Additionally, Ashland has had some of the worst health indicators in Alameda. Because of these problems, the Ashland community developed cross-sector partnerships between community members, local public health initiatives, and the city government.

In creating these partnerships, the county stepped forward to assist the Ashland community with their efforts and launched the Ashland Cherryland Healthy Communities Collaborative (ACHCC). This coalition, consisting of 25 agencies, works to create and implement neighborhood and community development initiatives, such as:

  • Famfest, a family-friendly event focused on walking, biking, and expanding access to health promoting resources that attracts over 1,000 people each year.
  • Monthly festivals held in a previously vacant lot, hosting local vendors, music, and community activities.

Much of this work is done through cross-sector partnerships that span across areas like health, law enforcement, housing, economic development, and education. The community of Ashland took these community partnerships and collaborations a step further when they established the Municipal Advisory Council (MAC). This council consists of elected or appointed community members who guide and advise the county on public health, safety, planning and development decisions. With over 75% of Ashland residents being people of color, the MAC helps to build civic infrastructure within the community, where residents are empowered to engage within the community through organizing and shaping local policies.

Voting, formal political activities: Collaborative action across the community, organizations, and sectors can best succeed when all parties sit at the planning table. Under a shared vision, all at the planning table will have buy in. The same applies to bipartisan efforts to change policy. An example of this work can be found with #Cut50.  The Dream Corps #Cut50 initiative works to bring together leaders, sometimes unlikely allies, to push for criminal justice solutions. This group’s grassroots effort with the First Step ACT successfully passed in 2018 in Congress with overwhelming bipartisan majority.  This act resulted in the lowest number of people in federal prison since 2003 by the release of 20,000 individuals, reduction of sentences for 7,000 individuals, and 17,000 years of human freedom restored.


Resources to Help You Plan

From KU’s Community Tool Box


Troubleshooting Guide(s) for Solving Common Problems