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?

Not just a senator or delegate – understanding key roles in the policymaking process

House Majority Leader Amy Summers confers with Delegate Rohrbach on the House floor

Every legislator at the Capitol is tasked with representing the interests of the citizens in their districts, but did you know that many legislators also have additional roles to play in the policymaking process? 

Here are a few key roles and what they’re responsible for:

Senate President and Speaker of the House

  • The Senate President chairs floor sessions of the Senate, making sure that each senator has an equal opportunity to understand, discuss, and take action on proposed legislation. In WV, the Senate President is also the Lt. Governor, which means that should the Governor be unable to fulfill their duties for some reason, the Senate President would step in.
  • The Speaker of the House has the primary responsibility of chairing floor sessions of the House of Delegates and maintaining the equitable and efficient function of the House of Delegates. Like the Senate President, the Speaker also has final say over the committee assignments of the members of their chamber.

Majority Leaders and Whips

  • The Majority Leader helps to determine what issues the majority party will focus on during a session. They also act as a spokesman for their party, and are given priority to speak on the floor. Because of this priority, they often make key motions during floor sessions that help keep the legislative process moving.
  • The Majority Whip mobilizes the votes of their party, simply put: it’s their job to know how each member of their party will vote on all bills that come before the body.

Minority Leaders

  • The Minority Leader is the elected spokesperson of their party and have priority to speak on the floor over other members of their party. They support their party by scheduling caucuses (special closed meetings just for their party) and other meetings.

Speaker Pro Tempore

  • The Speaker Pro Tempore presides over meetings of the House of Delegates if the Speaker of the House is unable to do so. An example of this is when the Speaker wishes to make comments about a bill or an amendment. Parliamentary Law says that the Speaker isn’t allowed to do so while chairing the meeting. So, they call on the Speaker Pro Tempore, allow them to chair the meeting, and then step down to make their comments.


Legislators are elected to these roles by members of their party, and generally reflect the trust and respect of their fellow legislators. These roles help keep the policymaking process moving forward. 

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