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Capacity Building Positions - Guides

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 4 years, 8 months ago

Front Page / Bonner Program Resources / Community Partnerships / Capacity Building Positions / Guides



Capacity Building Positions


Overview  |  Guides  |  Campus Examples  |  Documents to Download





Implementation Process



We are asking schools to incorporate the additional steps outlined in the annual process that you already engage in with your established community partners to review your partnership and service positions for the coming year.  The Capacity_Building_Opportunities_Form.pdf and meeting with partners (Steps 1, 2 and 3 below) is designed to generate new service roles for students beyond their traditional direct service positions.


In addition, we strongly encourage schools to reach out to collaborative efforts working to achieve measurable community and systemic change. These collaboratives take many forms and are sponsored by non-profit agencies, foundations, or government agencies, while usually bringing all three and active citizens to coordinate efforts to make a collective impact.  These collaboratives go by many names that usually include alliance, coalition, tasks force, commission, partnership in them (e.g., Mercer County Alliance to End Homelessness).  One significant feature of these efforts is that they often do not have any dedicated staff capacity, which makes them ideal partners for the capacity building role we see students being able to fill.


We also describe this process in this powerpoint presentation.



Step 1 — Meet with Partners


Your meeting with community partners lays the foundation for defining the relationship over the next academic year. When you meet with existing or potential new partners in the summer.  These meetings should cover the following topics:


Review goals for the campus:  Discuss the student developmental model (five E’s, student leadership, training and enrichment, etc.) and your goals for deepening student service experience. Also discuss opportunities for leveraging other campus resources (community-based research, service-learning courses, facilities, etc.). 

Review goals for the partner:  Gain an understanding from the partner how they view the relationship and what their needs and goals are for the next year. Reflect on student placements in the past. 

Review Capacity Building Opportunities Form:  After discussing how students have been serving at the organization, use the Capacity_Building_Opportunities_Form.pdf   to walk through and assess opportunities for students to support the capacity building needs of the organization.  Remember that the capacity building projects can be the entire focus of a student or can complement other direct service they be providing.  For example, students often coordinate after-school enrichment programs where they recruit, train, and manage other volunteers, while still serving alongside them to provide educational support to the youth in the program.

Explain matching process or how to work with existing students (Bonners) to integrate capacity building roles and projects into their positions:  Explain that positions and projects will be developed with the understanding that placements will only occur when matches can be made to fit student interests and capabilities.  Or, you can work with the partner to add capacity building roles and projects into the work of Bonners that are already at the site, making these modifications to the positions also.  

For existing students, this may also involve steps to meet with those students or facilitate the planning and discussion between the community partner and student about integrating these roles.

For students at large (not at the site already), this process will be very similar to a job/internship posting.  Therefore, it is very important to emphasize that there is not a 100% chance of matching a student to the position/project.

Review Capacity Building Accomplishments Form:  The Capacity_Building_Accomplishment_Form.pdf mirrors the Opportunities Form but is focused on gathering the quantitative measurements of what was achieved during the semester.  You want to review what and how the data will be collected ahead of time so you're prepared to begin collecting the relevant information during the semester (if needed) and at the end when it's completed.  For example, if the role includes volunteer recruitment, you'll want to determine the process that will be in place to collect this data.



Step 2 — Collect capacity building opportunities 


Use the hard copy of the Capacity_Building_Opportunities_Form.pdf to complement your existing tools for identifying service opportunities.  Walk through each opportunity category.  Ask the partner to define opportunities as concretely as possible, including products, how they fit into the organization's operations, resources that might be needed, deadlines, etc.  


After the meeting, transfer the information gathered on the completed Opportunities Form to the related Bonner Web-Based Reporting System Form linked to the community partner. This information will serve as a record of the opportunities and will be viewable in a BWBRS report compiled at the campus and national level.  


See step-by-step guide for Adding Capacity Building Opportunities Survey to BWBRS.



Step 3 — Draft positions descriptions incorporating ideas from opportunities form


Next, you will draft position descriptions that give a synopsis of what the student’s responsibilities will entail.  Review these with your partners to be sure you have captured the opportunities correctly.  Also, remember that, when appropriate, direct service and capacity building roles can be combined into one position.  See the Guide to Writing Effective Service Position Descriptions.


These position descriptions should then be entered into BWBRS.  See the BWBRS Step-by-Step Guide on Entering Partners and Positions.


You may also want to use these position descriptions to produce a flyer or email that can be easily distributed during the recruitment process.



Step 4 — Recruit students and make match where possible


There are a few different avenues to recruit students into positions or projects:


    • Use your one-on-one meetings with Bonners to assess the students their interests, strengths, and needed areas of growth.
    • Use your class or site meetings with Bonners to educate them about capacity building projects and begin to discuss their interests, strengths, and needed areas of growth to take on these roles. 
    • Distribute the recruitment flyer or email widely to students to identify those who might be interested and able to take on a project as part of a course assignment, internship placement, work-study position, or other service or leadership program.
    • Distribute the recruitment flyer or email widely to faculty to identify those who might be want to include a project as part of a course with a academic service-learning or community-based research focus.


Step 5 — Support student during semester


Capacity building roles will often require students to develop specific skills and identify resources to make them successful.  Therefore, you should consider what skill-based training and enrichment activities would be useful to your students serving in these positions.  You also should consider identifying a faculty or staff member at your school who could serve as an informal advisor to the student.  For instance, recruit someone from the development office for grants/fundraising projects, someone from the communications office for social media project, etc.



Step 6 — Collect accomplishments


At the end of the semester, someone from your staff should meet with the student(s) and community partner to fill out the Capacity_Building_Accomplishment_Form.pdf.  This meeting should also be used to reflect on the semester, revisit the Opportunities Form, and then review and revise (if necessary) the position descriptions for the next semester or summer.  Some schools have their Bonner Senior Intern participate in this process, while others have developed a specific Community Impact Intern position to help manage this process.


The results of the completed Accomplishments Form should be entered into the Bonner Web-Based Reporting System form linked to the partner profile.  These results will be available in BWBRS reports at both the school and national level.


See step-by-step guide for Adding Capacity Building Accomplishment Surveys to BWBRS.



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