CONVERTING GEOGRAPHY INTO COMMUNITY "Community building" is emerging as an important topic not only for businesses, political and community leaders, but also for churches and other nonprofit organizations concerned about the transformation of neighborhoods and cities. Last November, a diverse group of leaders gathered in southern California to learn from each other and share ideas and resources on community building. Included in the group were pastors, leaders of community leadership foundations, business and corporate leaders, think tanks and parachurch ministries. The principal resource person for their discussions was Peter Drucker, who observed that, "In the last 40 years, there has been a veritable explosion in the number of nonprofits created in this country. There's never been anything like it. It's the most diverse sector and the largest number created have been community service organizations." As part of his preparation for the meeting, Drucker examined the results of 68 nonprofits, including churches that had been acknowledged for their effectiveness by the Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management. In searching for the "right things" they did to achieve results, he found five common actions. "The first thing to say, is that the ones who have results, aim at results. They have a very clear definition of and concentration on what they are trying to accomplish. One cannot do everything, one gets results by concentration." "They also abandon. They look every year or two at what they're doing, say what works and they concentrate on that. The successful ones know how to collaborate. They know how to mobilize community resources and work with others." "A fourth characteristic is that they do not look upon the beneficiaries as recipients. That creates dependence. I am not saying it's easy, but the recipients are not beneficiaries. They're partners to success. The real beneficiaries are the volunteers." "The evidence is reasonably clear that the greatest and most important part in creating community is to convert geography into community. You do not really achieve results by taking care of social ills. You achieve results by building a healthy body, a healthy community. And you do that by creating citizenship, if you want to call it that, community citizenship through your volunteers. This is, by the way, why faith-based institutions are more effective than any others." ______________

source: Peter Drucker in Leadership Network Explorer Lite #28 tags: Community