Community Heart & Soul Field Guide

Orton Family Foundation

Year: 2014

This approach is a step-by-step process that will get people to participate in making decisions and taking action to improve the place where they live, work, learn, and play.

The process focuses on getting everyone involved in finding ways to protect, restore, or enhance their community’s identity – its heart and soul – over the long term.

Discover a roadmap that will show you how to:

  • REACH all demographics in your community by bridging divides and overcoming hurdles
  • MOVE the conversation out of city hall and into NEIGHBORHOODS
  • ENGAGE and learn from all kinds of PEOPLE: youth to working parents to retirees
  • UNCOVER practical, broadly supported SOLUTIONS to local problems
  • Discover the POWER of storytelling to reveal what MATTERS MOST to residents
  • Identify community VALUES and use them to inform ACTIONS
  • Build strong CIVIC CULTURE to inform DECISIONS over the long haul

“The power of Heart & Soul is that it created a critical mass of positivity that overcame old differences that had become obstacles in the community.”

—John Alden, PLANNING COMMISSIONER, Essex Junction, VT

Table of Contents:

Community Heart & Soul
Heart & Soul Principles

How To Use This Field Guide
Heart & Soul Step-by-Step
      Phase 1  Lay the Groundwork
Step 1  Get Organized

                  Task 1.1  Form a core team
                  Task 1.2  Assess community readiness
                  Task 1.3  Scope out the process
                  Task 1.4  Expand the team
                  Task 1.5  Understand community networks
             Step 2  Create a Roadmap
                  Task 2.1  Refine the proposal
                  Task 2.2  Design an engagement strategy
                  Task 2.3  Create a work plan and budget
3  Spread the Word
                  Task 3.1 Develop a communications strategy
                  Task 3.2  Prepare communication tools and material
                  Task 3.3  Build an audience

      Phase 2
  Explore Your Community
             Step 4  Gather Stories
                  Task 4.1  Listen and learn
                  Task 4.2  Organize the data
                  Task 4.3  Share the stories

             Step 5  Identify Community Values
                  Task 5.1  Draft community values and goals
                  Task 5.2  Review and confirm values and goals
                  Task 5.3  Finalize values and celebrate

             Step 6  Get Oriented
                  Task 6.1  Examine the situation
                  Task 6.2  Refine the goals

      Phase 3  Make Decisions
             Step 7  Develop Options
                  Task 7.1  Gather ideas
                  Task 7.2  Turn ideas into options

             Step 8  Make Choices
                  Task 8.1  Evaluate options
                  Task 8.2  Develop and review recommendations
                  Task 8.3  Finalize recommendations

             Step 9  Formalize Decisions
                  Task 9.1  Craft the plan
                  Task 9.2  Adopt the plan
                  Task 9.3  Celebrate the milestone

      Phase 4  Take Action
             Step 10  Mobillize Resources
                  Task 10.1  Set up a stewardship team
                  Task 10.2  Gather and align resources
                  Task 10.3  Sustain commitments and momentum

             Step 11  Follow Through
                  Task 11.1  Initiate actions
                  Task 11.2  Monitor and adjust

             Step 12  Cultivate Heart & Soul
                  Task 12.1  Foster a participatory culture
Task 12.2  Embed values in decision making
Beginning at the Ending