Much of your best and most interesting information may come from community members with no particular credentials except that they’re part of the community. It’s especially important to get the perspective of those who often don’t have a voice in community decisions and politics — low-income people, immigrants, and others who are often kept out of the community discussion. In addition, however, there are some specific people that it might be important to talk to. They’re the individuals in key positions or those who are trusted by a large part of the community or by a particular population. In a typical community, they might include:

  • Elected officials
  • Community planners and development officers
  • Chiefs of police
  • School superintendents, principals, and teachers
  • Directors or staff of health and human service organizations
  • Health professionals
  • Clergy
  • Community activists
  • Housing advocates
  • Presidents or chairs of civic or service clubs — Chamber of Commerce, veterans’ organizations, Lions, Rotary, etc.
  • People without titles, but identified by others as “community leaders”
  • Owners or CEO’s of large businesses (these may be local or maybe large corporations with local branches)


How do you go about understanding and describing the community

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Capacity Building, Tools and Resources

Why make the effort to understand and describe your community