Build the Network; Plan that Collaboration; Advance Your Mission

community development intentional practices mission. vision. values Jul 10, 2023
Build the Network; Plan that Collaboration; Advance Your Mission


The research is clear: high-performing boards recognize the importance of building networks, coalitions, and whatever is required to expand their reach to achieve their mission. But how does that work?


So, high-performing boards develop not-for-profit networks. They collaborate rather than compete. They focus on impact above self-interest. They don’t see peers as competition. They develop a network strategy. Do you have a network strategy?


Whether or not you have formal affiliates, you can find ways to build networks, movements, and the larger sector. Grow the pie. Look for ways to increase resources for the sector; even share resources within your network.


Share knowledge. Use your expertise to help strengthen other not-for-profits’ ability to advance the cause.


Here is one area where you can put the process to the test.


We face a serious issue in the decline of reading for pleasure among young people, across the continent, coupled of course with the loss of school libraries and teacher-librarians. This is a literacy and education issue.


This decline also has serious implications for the health and safety of society generally and democracy specifically.


It should concern every not-for-profit library board, school board and boards concerned with literacy generally and specifically.


When did you last pull together the Chairs and Chief Executive Officers of like-minded agencies concerned with literacy to discuss how resources and connections might be leveraged for the good of all? We do our little piece in our silo, but the sum can be greater than the parts.


What is the situation in your area? Do you know? Do you care?


According to Chartrr, we are losing the battle, and the war.


Here is the broad (US) look:


Fewer 13-year-olds are unwinding at the end of the day with a good novel, as only 14% reportedly say that they read for fun almost every day according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress.


The survey runs alongside the federal test commonly known as the nation's report card, which revealed that math and English scores for 13-year-olds have felt fallen to their lowest levels in decades, even underperforming the 2020 results, when education was disrupted heavily by the pandemic.


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Focusing on reading specifically, the average scores have fallen far below the 2012 standard.


It's widely believed that reading for pleasure correlates with improved academic performance and the latest data does little to dispel the notion, as students who reportedly read for fun almost every day surpass those who read less frequently in their spare time.


It's hard not to jump to the conclusion that the rise of screens and the Internet has contributed to the slow demise of reading for fun with instant gratification the norm for so many of us perhaps the most concerning is the 31% of students who reported never or hardly ever read for fun, up from just 9% in 1999.


But kids also need relevant books that speak to their experience, newer refreshed resources and promotion by a skilled teacher-librarian. They also need public library experiences and coordination of opportunity. And for those concerned about literacy, this should be not only on your radar but top of mind.


This is not only tragic for kids. It is frightening to consider the longer-term impact.


So is literacy part of your remit? How might you partner with like-minded agencies and their boards to address a serious societal issue which you cannot overcome on your own?


Chartrr offers data storytelling, through data-driven insights into business, technology, entertainment and society. Their visual newsletter takes five minutes to read and is free.


What are your main “pain points” dealing with serious societal issues?

What advice would be most helpful to you?

And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.




Advance Your Mission!

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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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