Also called comprehensive community planning or community strategic planning, community planning is, in most cases, a four-stage process by which communities can collectively envisage, plan, and work towards their desired future. It is on-going and flexible so when the needs or wishes of the community changes, so does the plan.
The four stages:
- Pre-Planning - Designing of the community planning process
- Planning - Assessing current state of affairs, gap analysis, and collectively determining desired future and outcomes
- Implementation - Putting plans to action, building partnerships, and undergoing strategic projects
- Monitoring - Monitoring the progress of implementation and modify plans as necessary
Community development is complex and mismanaging it can result in some high costs, financially and otherwise. Community planning simplifies this task by accounting for all the various aspects of community life and making the path towards the community vision clear and attainable.
The community planning process is a catalyst for change when done correctly. A community's strength is in its members ability to work together. When this happens there is no limit to what is achievable.
There are many reasons why a community should have a community planning process in place. The benefits have the potential to be unlimited and on-going. Listed below are some examples of benefits you may expect.
For the community:
- Shared vision
- Capacity building potential in every sector
- Clear priorities and direction
- Identification, protection and promotion of core values
- Increased ability to address issues and needs
- Clearly laid out priorities and plans provide for continuity of projects spanning across election terms
- Increased quality of life
- Increased supports in community
- Forum/process dedicated to addressing issues that affect you
- Increased access to services and information
- Increased employment and business opportunities
- Increased quality of life
- Higher sense of community and responsibility
Anyone who is part of the community with an interest to see positive change and development. Young people are full of energy and ideas which may contribute much to the process. Involving young people in community affairs also exposes them to learning about leadership and teamwork which will be of benefit to them and the community in the future. Older people tend to be experienced and possess knowledge and wisdom which will be a valuable contribution to the community plans and process.
A community planning process belongs to the community although it is sometimes wise to solicit advice and assistance from outside sources (such as NADF) to help get the process started and on the right track.
NADF community planning services are free of charge to the First Nation communities we serve. Those services may include:
- Advisory services
- Facilitation services (for engagement, discussions, planning)
- Workshops and presentations (awareness, training)
- Drafting / writing community plans and their components
- Assistance with proposal writing
For more information on NADFs' community planning services:
- First Nation Comprehensive Community Planning Handbook (developed for First Nations in British Columbia)
- communityplanning.net - CP site from the UK
- First Nations in British Columbia
- Centre for First Nations Governance - National Centre for First Nations Governance
- Governance Best Practices - Osooyoos Indian Band