Community Development

Arbor Consulting Partners works with a range of individuals, organizations and communities to improve the effectiveness of community development initiatives. As social scientists, we have experience identifying the scope of factors that shape social change processes. We utilize both qualitative and quantitative methods to assess community needs and perspectives as well as particular community development interventions.

Our expertise includes:

  • close and nuanced analysis of organizations, cultures and processes of change

We can help you be more effective by identifying implicit as well as explicit factors that contribute to specific community development processes. In particular, we are experienced in the use of ethnographic methods to provide:

  • a baseline assessment of an environment or cultural setting;
  • on-going, real-time feedback about an implementation process, including:
  • information about the different perspectives of community members affected by a program or project, as well as
  • information about relationships among community members as well as between individuals, organizations and institutions that affect community development efforts.
  • network analysis and support of network strategies

Nonprofit leaders and philanthropic funders are increasingly encouraging the development of networks of people and organizations to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and address social and economic problems far too complex for any single organization to solve. Based on our knowledge of network principles and our experience supporting networks in the nonprofit sector, we can help you build and strengthen relationships that serve individual and collective goals more effectively. Using network research methodologies, we can provide:

    • a diagnostic map of your existing ties and relationships. Diagnostic mapping often uncovers important network patterns and flows (central hubs, clusters, outliers);
    • information about structural barriers and solutions adapted to your particular network. Oftentimes, different network collaborations/endeavors (learning, advocacy, innovation, production) are best served through particular configurations of ties;
    • information about opportunities to adapt or grow your network balancing individual and collective values;
    • support for the design and implementation of a comprehensive, evidenced-based evaluation of your network and its outcomes.