Taking time to understand the issue you plan to explore and how it manifests in real time for those you hope to serve is crucial to developing a successful, meaningful, and sustainable service effort. You must also be knowledgeable about the community partners you plan to work with and the work already being done there. This information will allow you to be thoughtful in your work, and ensure you are not reinventing the wheel. Joining forces with others can be a great way to have a lasting and powerful impact.


Just like you have skills and assets, the community partners/members you plan to work with have them too. Communities also have specific needs they are hoping to fill and goals they are trying to meet. It is critical that you not only acknowledge but seriously consider the skills/assets as well as the needs/goals of the community you plan to work with. Doing so is how you ensure your work is addressing a true need.


Understanding Community

  • Identify and describe the community you would like to focus your efforts in.
  • What are the various needs of that community? What issues matter to that community? What is the community concerned about?
  • Who can you connect with to learn more about the community you have identified?
  • What was a time when you had to overcome an obstacle? How did you overcome the challenge you faced?

Connecting with Community Partners

  • What community partners would you like to connect with in your work?
  • What are the needs of the partners listed above? Are you able to meet those needs?
  • What are the skills/assets of the community partners listed above? How can you utilize them?