Center for Community Futures
P.O. Box 5309
Berkeley, CA 94705

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Jim Masters, Consultant (510) 459-7570
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Allen Stansbury, Consultant in Public Policy Research Analysis (707) 540-5776
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Strategy Preferences Exercise

From the Toolkit for Community Action Agency Board Members, December 2004.

    Individuals have pre-dispositions towards different types of strategies.  These are a function of: personality, need to see the people who benefit from the strategy, how long a person is willing to wait for results, and perceptions of the causes of a problem, and perceptions about what is a realistic solutions to a problem. 

    Use this exercise to surface the differences of opinion in a group, or in yourself.  There are no right or wrong answers, but in the area of “knowing thyself” the Board members and senior staff should understand each other's preferences. 

    Reproduce the exercise on the next page.  Ask each person to circle their preferences.  They should be about to do this in about 5 minutes.  This is a “forced choice” exercise.  Then ask them to report on their preferences as you tally the results on the following grid on a sheet of flip-chart paper.

 Option Selected

 Question

A

B

C

1.

 

 

 

2.

 

 

 

3.

 

 

 

4.

 

 

 

    Individuals tend to stay in a pattern, e.g. mostly A, or B, or C.

    How do the three types of strategies differ in terms of:

bullet

Amount of time it takes to get the strategy going

bullet

Involvement of residents

bullet

Cost

bullet

Possible payoff or benefits to be achieved

bullet

Permanency of “the cure”

bullet

Changing people

bullet

Changing social or legal institutions

bullet

And other factors.

    Then discuss the implications for your planning and policy making process.

Strategy Option Questions

1. Your agency has just received a modest sum of money (e.g., under $150,000) to address problems relating to starvation and malnutrition.  Which of the following approaches would your agency adopt?
a. Conduct a food donation drive and distribute the food to low-income people.
b. Help community residents organize and operate a farmer's market where low-income people (and others) can buy and sell produce.
c. Assist a local group in pushing for changes in, and expansion of, federal and state food programs.
   
2. Approximately 70% of the children in a primary school in your agency's service area are from low-income families. Based on available information, only about half of these children will graduate from high school. Your agency has decided to use a modest sum of money to address this problem. Which of the following approaches do you think the agency should use?
a. Provide tutoring and do drop-out counseling with individual students.
b. Get more parent and community involvement in school activities.
c. Help low-income parents and students push for significant changes in the school system's operation.
   
3. Which of the following approaches do you think your agency should pursue in helping low-income people pay heating bills?  A modest sum of program money is available.
a. Divide the money and give it to families to pay heating bills.
b. Use the money to purchase weatherization materials and mobilize volunteers to install these materials in homes.
c. Assist organizations across the state in seeking utility rate reforms of benefit to low-income people.
   
4. Your agency has decided to use a modest sum of program money to try to keep low-income elderly persons out of institutions and in their own homes.  How should this be done?
a. Hire homemaker aides for low-income elderly persons.
b. Use the money to push the state to increase its homemaker program.
c. Join with other organizations to have a property tax exemption for low-income elderly persons enacted.

 


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