2017 Grantee Insights



  • More work at the beginning to help create the project helps address the challenge of maintaining it.

  • Identifying one team member as the contact person to communicate with partners creates clarity.

  • Deem one team member as the calendar king/queen, and use Google calendar or other online calendar tools to share important dates across team.

  • Look for areas of common ground, listen AND communicate from your expertise, AND ‘think before you speak.’

  • FOLLOW UP relentlessly. Get creative with your emails and use a light-hearted tone.

  • Include relationship building into the budget and project timeline (# of hours and $).

  • Be concise with partners & clear with expectation (ex. There will be X number of meetings and then we get Y).

  • Require everyone to invest something.

  • New projects, even with established organizations, require relationship building that takes time.

  • We have to take time to value the work partners are doing through reciprocating trust and learning each other’s culture.

  • If they want it, sell it (have your cake and eat it too).

  • Celebrate little steps along the way.

  • Stick with it through conflict.

  • Sometimes inviting the smaller organizations to lead the project leads to innovation and allows them to grow

On outreach and community organizing…

  • It takes so much time to build relationships, but it is so important (especially with communities who have such good reason not to trust).

  • There is a unique power to doing work from a sense of ‘calling’ and from WITHIN community. This type of work innately addresses imbalances in power and exploitation.

  • Target community stakeholders. Engage, and build off of relationships.

  • Make a concerted effort to reach invisible populations. Get involved in community organizations.

  • Humility is a key characteristic. Actively listen to community needs in order to acknowledge needs. Don’t be an outsider with fixes. Establish a co-learning atmosphere and adopt a non-hierarchical approach.

  • Figure out how folks connect within the community.

  • Give ownership to participants and be flexible with the results.

  • Remember that at times generations of mistrust exist towards established institutions.

  • We are committed as much to a community as to a project.


  • Take time to write down community stories. Bring stories forward before they disappear.

  • Take into consideration the culture of the group that you are working with or marketing towards when deciding on communications platforms.

  • Build relationships so people see and experience results for themselves.

  • Within partnerships, leverage each other’s networks.

  • Facebook promotions are cheap and multiply outreach.


  • Find creative ways of asking for feedback. Create color scales (purple to yellow) rather than number scales for those who do not conform to a 1-10 paradigm. For some people, numbers don’t adequately capture the effect of creative projects. “It’s our responsibility to change the world, not conform to it.”

  • Celebrate each and every small success.