Community Development Consulting Builds on Your Neighborhood Strengths
Facing a long winding path? Even if it's as pretty as this one in Indianapolis, sometimes the uncertainty is holding you back. Maybe we can help.
Early in building this website, people started asking whether we are available for community development consulting. Two of the founders of the site have had considerable experience in the consulting world, so we said yes--providing the client is ready for the same no-nonsense approach that we take on this website. Life is too short to write meaningless reports that will never be read a second time!
While we would consider anything you want to propose, after you've taken a brief look at our website, we think our strengths lie in these areas:
- Strategic planning retreats or single sessions for boards of community development corporations or other community-based organizations
- Traditional community development topics, which include redevelopment, housing policy and innovation, and housing programs
- Neighborhood planning and other types of small area plans, including transit oriented development
- Policy and strategy work, especially in the areas of vacant property, small downtown redevelopment opportunities, regional sprawl, and overall city strategy on prioritizing neighborhoods or opportunity areas
- Typical city planning implementation projects, including zoning overhauls or tweaking
- Specialized community engagement, especially with disadvantaged groups
To initiate the conversation, you should simply send an e-mail to nancy at this domain name. While Nancy has taken on most of the new work on the site, the other original authors of the site are ready to handle some consulting assignments in their areas of expertise.
Often board members and community activists will be on their best behavior when a consultant is involved, and the one-time spirit of cooperation can carry over into implementation long after the planning session is completed. When human behavior is involved, there aren't any guarantees, of course, but this tendency is real. If your group seems stuck, give it a try.
Criteria for Choosing a Community Development Consultant
When choosing a consultant, we think important criteria should be:
- Similarity of the organization's style to the desired end product. In other words, if your goal is a long, boring, formal plan or a slick marketing brochure, you shouldn't hire someone like us. If you want an honest, objective, and no-holds-barred opinion, followed up with practical ideas on implementation, we should be in the running. If you want a board retreat that gets to the heart of the matter quickly and helps everyone focus on real issues, we are a good fit.
- Broad experience and expertise in the general topic area. By this we mean that the person or company you choose should understand more than one geography. If knowing your particular political system is critical, that should be one of your criteria, but we hope you can find someone that isn't bound by the groupthink of your area. If you could solve your problem by imitating what is popular in your broader community, probably you would have done so.
- Availability of appropriate personnel to work directly on the project. Often the "sales" person you will encounter won't be the one who is assigned to do the work. Keep this in mind, and try to meet the individuals primarily responsible for working on your project.
- Your time frame and the capacity of the chosen community development consultant to meet appropriate deadlines.
Just to finish the story, we've been hired four times now simply on the basis of the website, and we have loved every minute of it. The customers seem happy too.
If we can help you answer some persistent questions about your community development issues, settle internal conflicts, or take some pesky items off your plate, please let us know.
Useful Community Development
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