> Strategic Planning
> Measuring Impact
The strategic planning model featured here emphasizes three keys to an effective community partnership: focus, alignment and momentum.
- Focus refers to creating a clear vision and value system, and setting specific objectives.
- Alignment means ensuring that partnership initiatives match community needs.
- Momentum is implementing—and sustaining—partnership efforts over time, with the goal of having a long term, positive impact.
To maximize chances for success, partnerships should stress learning. This requires making research and development a standard and ongoing part of partnership activities.
In addition, partnerships must identify and establish performance indicators that will help assess whether you are implementing strategies that will spur system improvements, and if you have provided the structures and processes to sustain them. You must also build in the capacity to gather and analyze applicable data, using that knowledge to enhance operations and more efficiently meet goals.
While there are many methods for defining and measuring impact, choose one that feels most compatible with your partnership’s membership and goals. Whatever approach you choose, a “participatory research” framework may prove most beneficial. This method explicitly involves service users, families, providers, administrators, researchers and other stakeholders in defining research questions, selecting indicators, interpreting results and creating new approaches to improve performance.