Community Benefit Planning


  • We have an opportunity to focus on what we hope all our hard work and organizational success will make possible for our communities. 
  • It is a chance to look beyond our walls and see how what we do aligns with what we would like our communities to be. 
  • When we start from this perspective, we can articulate what we believe is the highest potential for our communities and our work. 
  • This is the community benefit we want the work of the organization to advance and to which we will hold ourselves and our work accountable. 

The goal of community benefit focused planning, is to honor all the strengths in the community, the approach encourages looking beyond the boundaries of the organization and engaging the broader community, especially those whom the organization is intentionally working to benefit, to fully understand the array of conditions that need to be in place for successful community change. 

Organizational leadership identifies the conditions the organization is best positioned to influence and moves forward with organizational-level planning (strategy and structure).
Planning is focused not on what the organization does and/or has done, but on what has the greatest potential to create the community change we want to see, increasing the opportunity to see new options, to innovate, to partner, and/or to experiment.
Once we have identified how the organization will create benefit to the community, we then focus on the process of aligning the structure, resources, and efforts of the organization to ensure that they support effective execution of the strategy (organizational sustainability and wellness).
Members of the organization as well as members of the broader community are engaged in determining the structural model of the organization that is both viable and sustainable in order to create buy-in, validate the work, and develop meaningful accountability.
The result is an organization that is intentionally aligned and organized to create the community change/benefit it envisions in a sustainable way (business model).

The Ripple Effect: By engaging the community in conversations about what conditions are required to further benefits across the community, we are having a collective conversation about what we all are contributing to, energizing all those involved and reinforcing shared interests and passions. Each participant in this conversation can take away a piece of that vision and explore how they can contribute to overall community success given their focus and expertise. In this way, the planning of our work not only benefits us, but also benefits the planning of everyone involved - strengthening the relationships, partnerships, and collaborative potential across the community.

For even more detailed resources on community benefit planning, visit Creating the Future

"Never look back unless you are planning on going that way"
Henry David Thoreau