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?

Downtown development efforts spark change in Kingwood

A message from the Blueprint Communities Team of Kingwood:

When we first heard we were going to be a Blueprint Community, we knew our little town of Kingwood was in for some positive changes over the next few years. As a team of volunteers, our first few meetings were day-long learning sessions with team members from the five other Blueprints Communities and representatives from The Hub and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. From there, we repeatedly met with our larger community to hear about the changes everyone would like to see, and what community members would support. 

One of the main goals our community identified is to see the revitalization of downtown Kingwood. Over the years, Kingwood has seen more and more local business owners shutting their doors and buildings being left to deteriorate. A person strolling down the previously bustling South Price Street would see more “For Rent” signs and empty storefronts than open businesses. We aimed to change that together using the resources, trainings, and guidance provided through the Blueprint Communities program, and we started to see progress. 

When COVID-19 hit, we thought we would start moving backwards, but the entrepreneurs of Kingwood proved to be more resilient than that. Since May 2020, three new businesses–Tess Beauty Salon, Pockets of Time Antique and Artisan Marketplace, and Cat Daddy’s Ragin Cajun Cafe have opened, and Preston County Community Action relocated to an empty building on South Price Street.

The progress and dreams for South Price Street continue with plans for the future, including an open space park for community members to enjoy, and monthly block parties for the community to gather, connect, and shop at local businesses (once it is safe to, of course). South Price Street will also be a vibrant showcase of our community with local artwork, and efforts to highlight the available building spaces, and support existing businesses.

Along with the efforts underway for the revitalization of South Price Street, Kingwood has a unique opportunity in that we are becoming more of a destination for outdoor recreation. Preston County Parks and Recreation and the other nearby Rail Trail towns are collaborating and strategizing about the ways to improve and connect with the Kingwood Rail Trail. Main Street Kingwood is also partnering with Mountaineer County CVB to help create and promote packaged tourism for the area, to showcase ways to explore the abundant natural beauty in and around Kingwood. These revitalization efforts are meeting increasing economic opportunities and will lead to even more amazing businesses downtown.

In 2020, we learned that people are resilient. Plans change, and we roll with them. We know with the help of The Hub, FHLB of Pittsburgh, and members of our wonderful community, we will be able to keep Kingwood moving forward. In order to keep this momentum going, and make these community dreams happen, we need to work together!

If you would like to volunteer or learn more, contact us at:

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