Time and Resources Needed to Conduct a Listening Project
It is not required that you have all your resources fully developed before you request LP training. However your organization should have a realistic picture of what you have and what you will need to develop. An LP organizer/trainer can advise you on some of the steps of developing your project and its resources.
Length of project: This will vary depending on the specific nature and goals of your project. The overall length of a Listening Project is approximately a year or more. This includes planning time, conducting interviews and initial follow-up organizing.
Organizational time commitment: To put it simply, your organization and its partners or coalition members should not take on a Listening Project if you already have a somewhat full agenda of activities. The time commitment required by a Listening Project is substantial and you will need to make your project a priority. This might mean letting go of some other plans or commitments. Keep in mind that a Listening Project will help you build a strong foundation that can strengthen and increase your organizing capabilities in years to come, therefore these benefits are worth the priority status.
Personal time commitments:
Money and/or donated resources: You will need funds for:
Follow-up Organizing: With some projects the primary need for funding comes after the listening has occurred and the findings of the Listening Project are turned into specific plans for community development or some other work. Depending on the nature of your project and its goals, your finance and fundraising committee should begin early on looking into potential funding sources for this post-listening organizing work. Projects developed by a partnership of organizations have access to more resources for follow-uo organizing.
In some cases, funds may need to be raised before the LP can be started. For example, in the old Jenkins School LP, the Taylor County Leadership Council (TCLC) was given ownership of the Old Jenkins School with the stipulation that a multi-service community center would be operating at the school within 5 years. In December, 1995, before a decision was made to implement a LP, TCLC submitted a “Historical Resources Grants-In-Aid proposal to the Florida Dept. of State to develop the Jenkins School into a multi-service community center. After they received the grant in February of 1996, they began more serious work on developing other resources for a possible LP and held their Training for LP Organizers in May 1996.
People: You need people to fill all the roles identified above under Personal Time Commitments. You need teams of two people for each interview. Each interview lasts about an hour. Once you’ve determined how many people you want to interview and how many days / months you will conduct interviews, you can figure out how many interviewers you need to train. Remember that you will lose some interviewers along the way. You probably will want to spend some time promoting your Listening Project and its goals as a way of bringing new people into your organization who can contribute to your project as interviewers and otherwise. Working within a coalition enables you to draw from a larger pool of volunteers.
Training and Other Assistance: Training should be provided by an experience LP Organizer or Trainer. For information on how to locate a skilled trainer you can contact RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-675-4626. Resident or non-resident organizations or individuals who are not directly involved in the organizing of your LP can act as advisors and provide other assistance, eg: computer processing of interview results, grant-writing, offering a training site, etc.
"I am finding Listening Projects to be a central ingredient in community development. Communities have breached barriers, created partnerships, built capacity, and moved forward with direct input and enthusiasm from residents."
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