Presenting the community with a solution to a need, but not paving the way to that solution is like no solution exists at all. Providing staff with the opportunity to fuse their passions and their employment, but when staffing infrastructure doesn’t exist then there’s no support for that fusion.
Infrastructure in community-based organization includes a range of things, including databases and procedures, networks and coalitions, and cultivating leadership and diversity. In fact, most often, infrastructure is referred to as “capacity building” and the TCC Group has a great explanation of the history of capacity building in the nonprofit sector called Capacity Building 3.0: How to Strengthen the Social Ecosystem.
Ultimately, infrastructure really equates a support system that empowers the community and staff members who serve them.
Savvy nonprofit professionals don’t need to start frantically building infrastructure. Instead, folks need a better relationship with the idea of infrastructure… the rest will follow.
Pave the way to the solutions that your organization offers by developing infrastructure that ensures greater access to your organization for the community that you intend to serve.*
Reframe what infrastructure means by avoiding Big Brother approaches, using your altruism to guide structure.**
How Can I Implement The 2 Tips?
*Breakdowns in infrastructure create complex access issues. Here are a few hints that can help you to start taking action to increase access via infrastructure development:
1 | Does your website, office location, phone answering approach, and time of services make it crystal clear for the community to access you and feel good about what you’re offering?
2 | Does your approach to staff supervision and coaching ensure that all community members get the same information, polite interaction, and confidence in your organizational mission and competence?
3 | Do your data storage practices make it easy to know who and when you served community members, which of your partners also served them, and whether anyone has fallen through the cracks?
4 | Is your organizational leadership familiar with what is takes to carry-out a program and the needs of staff in effectively serving the community?
**Many big hearted, “let’s get sh*t done” professionals are wary of building infrastructure that morphs into cumbersome bureaucracy.
We addressed this honest and important stance in a previous 2 Tips. Please reference the accompanying handout on 5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Big Brother in Your Community Organization.
Why did we develop 2 Tips videos?
The Anchoring Success team trusts the talent and sophistication of professionals in community-based organizations. We know that many professionals and organizational leaders do not have the funds to partner with specialists (like us) and/or the time to strategize on what might seem like extra projects.
Therefore, we launched these 2 Tips videos to support you with making tweaks, adjustments, and refinements in programs and operations — doable for busy professionals like you!