Addressing community needs (broadening the problem frame)

From Communities for Future wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

By mapping out and responding to the needs of the community, an organization could find itself in a positive situation with good community support and in a position to build alliances and network with other local community organizations.


Sometimes projects are written up in light of the skills and propensities of the project writers, with integrated solutions (because the funders may want experts and proper solutions already spelled out due to concerns with ‘impact’). This internal process can restrict and alienate the community for which the initiative attempts to serve. With no time invested in developing a collective intelligence process, which engages stakeholders and community members alike, the real conflicts, issues and needs of the community will not emerge. This will have a negative impact on the initiatve affecting confidence, motivation and participation amongst the members of the organization (Forrest & Wiek, 2014).


"Frame the initiative in ways that are most relevant to the community (Forrest & Wiek, 2015, pg. 16)." According to Forrest & Wiek (2014) the framing of the goals of the initiative as challenges and opportunities to support the needs of the community is a direct way to provide the "legitimacy, credibility and saliency needed to obtain the necessary popular support and participation (pg. 17)." The authors (Simon et al., 2020, pg. 96) found that oftentimes community members already hold beliefs in-line with the objectives of the initiative. It is therefore in the best interest of the organization to tap into serving the needs of community members to help build motivation, participation and support. In a study conducted by (Moore et al., 2015) to reach as many community members as possible the organization should also seek to broaden their problem frame, that is to focus on the root of the problem which is responsible for the needs community members have. By focusing on the root of the problem to address the needs of the community, cohesion can be developed which in turn lends itself to the successful scaling of the organization (pg. 76).


Related Patterns


Forrest, Nigel, and Arnim Wiek. 2014. “Learning from Success—Toward Evidence-Informed Sustainability Transitions in Communities.” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 12:66–88. doi: 10.1016/j.eist.2014.01.003.

Forrest, Nigel, and Arnim Wiek. 2015. “Success Factors and Strategies for Sustainability Transitions of Small-Scale Communities – Evidence from a Cross-Case Analysis.” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 17:22–40. doi: 10.1016/j.eist.2015.05.005.

Simon, Katy, Gradon Diprose, and Amanda C. Thomas. 2020. “Community-Led Initiatives for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation.” Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online 15(1):93–105. doi: 10.1080/1177083X.2019.1652659.

Moore, Michele-Lee, Darcy Riddell, and Dana Vocisano. 2015. “Scaling Out, Scaling Up, Scaling Deep: Strategies of Non-Profits in Advancing Systemic Social Innovation.” Journal of Corporate Citizenship 2015(58):67–84. doi: 10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2015.ju.00009.