Community visioning, is it worth it?

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NGOs and Marketing…
March 9, 2017
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Utopia is key to engage

Photo by Nugroho Nurdikiawan Sunjoyo / World Bank

One of the key issues to the community involvement around a social project is how to inspire people to change habits and embrace new solutions that might improve their lives and their community.

I find the act of visioning an Utopia as the first step in creating that inspiration you need. Plus it will give the necessary guidance on how to integrate within the community to maximize the positive impact. Knowing what one doesn’t want can be very important (to protest), but where will it lead? A community, without an idea in which direction to change, won’t be able to articulate a solution and act in a more efficient way to create a positive change.

What to gain with community visioning

Promoting the creation of a Positive Vision of the future within a Community, might bring the concept of Utopia to a more practical sense, by connecting it to an action. Plus, if it is a collective visioning, created by a group or even a whole community, you manage to create engagement and civic participation.

Being part of this community visioning, as a NGO or an individual Social Entrepreneur, can help you be part of a more holistic project, understanding better what can you do and how to do it, plus it can help you to connect with them, creating synergies. Since it’s a participatory tool that allows you to know better the community, you are working with, and also allows them to know your intentions and vision.

 

3 things you should be aware of

  1. You have to be aware though, that this is a time consuming process (that it implies to listen to everyone that wants to share their opinion) and it requires moderators (some community members that might already be experienced in this tools).
  2. Your position should be as a participant or a supporter, never as the leader or moderator, since this process needs to be in the hands of the community.
  3. Finally, as Transition Network says, the outcome of a visioning process should never be taken as an absolute truth (…) No one knows what the future will bring, so allow your vision to change and adapt as new people join, and the world around you changes.” In other words, this process needs constant iteration and it will be constantly changing.

As once said Fernando Birri, “Utopia is in the horizon, every time you walk 10 steps in it’s direction, it will go further away 10 steps.” So why is it there? To make you walk. It serves the purpose of a guide, to help you orient yourself while acting upon this world.

 

In future post I’ll talk more about practical tools that will facilitate a community visioning. Meanwhile, here are more tools and practical sugestions about this subject: Transition Network Website and Conservation Tools Website.

Key Points on Community Vision

  • Is a call to action inspiring and motivating the community.
  • Provides hope by bringing back the old-fashioned-idea that the world might actually be a good place!
  • Brings cohesion to the community, as it helps to create it’s collective story.
  • Helps to communicate to others the intention and the end goal of the actions of the community.
  • Brings focus to the community or group, resulting in a more efficient action.
  • Is the basis of the commitment within a community, since it involves everyone’s voice in its creation. Plus it can be the first step to create written and visualized statements of the community’s long term goals and the consequent planning of the milestones and tasks to arrive there

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