Getting Started With Building Relationships

“Who else should we involve in community-level change?”

Relationships drive the work of community change forward. You are working to build relationships with a central team right now, but what about building relationships outside of your team? You need funding, resources, volunteers, and other assistance as you move through executing projects.  

The work of building relationships needs to happen before asking for something from organizations or individuals–your goal is to cultivate long-term and authentic partnerships while identifying what is important to community decision-makers, potential funders, and volunteers.  

In order to build strong relationships with others, you need to understand how you work with others. Continuing to learn more about yourself is important as these relationships develop. 


Activities: Choose 2-3 activities to complete to identify common interests and build relationships with your team. You’ll be tempted to jump straight into the work, but understanding what matters to others on your team and how they work best is important to your long-term success. Take your time with the activities; they aren’t intended to be completed in one sitting. 


  • Power Trading CardsTaking information that you garnered from your one-on-one conversations, complete this activity to have a quick reference within your community of what stakeholders consider to be important assets.  


  • Enneagram Personality Test – The Enneagram is a personality typing test that focuses on how you interact with others and what you find important. Take this quiz individually and then discuss your findings and results with your team. Identify who among the team is best at reaching out to new people and who is best at maintaining relationships.

  • My Community WishlistUsing the Community Wishlist from Lesson 1.3: Getting Started With Others, add a fourth column that identifies who exactly in the community cares about each of the items on the wishlist to better show the importance of these items.


Here’s your chance to take some time to think and reflect on your dreams and interests. Keep a community building journal, scribble notes on some post-its, or simply think about these questions before moving on to the next lesson!

  • Reflecting on your Enneagram type (1-9), identify your strengths and weaknesses with relationship-building tasks (For example, Enneagram 2s tend to be people pleasers).

  • What are specific tasks in your community that volunteers could assist with completing?

  • What were you surprised about when conducting the one-on-one conversations exercise?

Community Development in Action

MacKenzie Walker is a community leader in Matewan, WV who utilizes the power of relationship development to harness resources and funding for the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum. Through building powerful partnerships, the City of Matewan has completed a series of small wins and met goals through a community development process, leading to larger projects currently underway. Learn more about what’s happening in Matewan in this video.

Watch this HubCAP video highlighting Matewan and their amazing work!

Ready to keep going?

Let’s get talking – 6 communities kick off their visions for a brighter future


The six Blueprint Communities teams are taking unique approaches to  bringing their fellow residents into the conversation about the future of their communities.

Lewis County decided to host four mini-kickoff celebrations in areas across the county, including Hampton, Alum Bridge, Ireland, and Jane Lew, leading up to a larger community celebration event – all with the aim of engaging more people and more perspectives in their work. 

New Martinsville hosted an engaging community meeting and set up stations where participants could share their perspectives and vote for the priority they were most passionate about. You can check out a news story that captured the event here.

Meadow River Valley, which is comprised of Rainelle, Rupert, and Quinwood in Greenbrier County, coordinated a community gathering at Fruits of Labor and had more than sixty community members and other supporters attend. During the event, participants heard about community project successes, learned more about the Blueprint program, and shared thoughts on their vision for the future.

Community kickoff celebrations are also set to be held in Parsons, the Monticello Neighborhood of Clarksburg, and Kingwood. Parsons plans to gather community members at the local park, have stations for feedback on the priorities, and offer ice cream as a reward for participating. Monticello  is organizing a walk, based on the idea of being “on the right path,” from a community garden to to a local building. Lewis County is planning a pool party for their folks to unite as a collective community and select a priority together. Kingwood is arranging a community forum to invite community members in an engaging conversation where priorities will be explained in detail. The results will be captured via survey. 

The details for each of the remaining community kickoffs are listed below. Please consider joining in on the fun and observe the beginning of this exciting journey.

  • Parsons: Friday, July 19 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Monticello Neighborhood of Clarksburg: Sunday, July 21 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Lewis County: Wednesday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Kingwood: Thursday, July 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

If you have any questions about these events, please contact Kaycie Stushek, Director of the Blueprint Communities Program, at

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