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?

Lewis County moves forward work on Blueprint Communities initiative

The Blueprint Communities team of Lewis County has made a major move in increasing capacity and moving forward projects in their community. This month, Victoria Stansberry accepted the position of Blueprint Community Coordinator.

The Blueprint Communities initiative creates momentum for revitalizing older communities and neighborhoods by building strong local leadership, collaboration, and development capacity, developing sound local and regional planning skills, and encouraging coordinated investments in targeted communities by public and private funders. The team members participating in Blueprint Communities receive leadership training, help in using their skills to create and implement revitalization plans for their communities, and access to a variety of funding opportunities.

Since 2007, The Hub has worked with the FHLBank of Pittsburgh to support 22 West Virginia communities by providing coaching assistance to develop strategic plans. The FHLBank of Pittsburgh provides an anchor grant in the beginning years of the community’s implementation that supports an anchor organization in the community to build their staffing capacity. This enables them to move their objectives forward, plan future funding strategies, continue to build partnerships, and work to make their position secure in the long term.

Lewis County was able to utilize those anchor grant funds and leverage other resources to build this position to continue the incredible work being done in their community.

In this new position, Victoria will work to uplift the five areas of focus for the Blueprint Community project, which includes a trail system, recreation center, removal or renovation of dilapidated structures, cultural activities, and affordable housing.

“I am equally eager to support a culture that brands these items as not only as community wants, but as community endeavors. I am only a few days in, and I can see that the desire is here. Blueprint exists for the community, and I am excited to see what the people of Lewis County can build,” said Victoria.

Congrats, Lewis County! Read more about their amazing successes here.

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