Over the next few weeks, we will be working with the State Teams to develop network maps. These maps will show the nodes (people, groups, and organizations) that each State Team is connected to. Nodes are connected by links, which can be relationships, flows, or transactions. In order to develop these maps, we will ask team members where they get ideas and expertise, who they collaborate with, what listservs they receive, and who they disseminate information to.
These maps will allow us to visually track our links and design strategies to fill in gaps. Once the maps have been developed we can ask if the right connections are in place, if there are any key connections missing, and which links need to be strengthened. Several studies have shown a coalition or organization’s level of connectedness to be associated with productivity. Kegler, Steckler, McLeroy & Malek (1998) conducted an analysis of 10 cancer prevention coalitions. They found that the quality of communication among members and staff was associated with the number of activities executed. In a more recent study, Wells et al. (2006) found that extensive partner outreach and development allowed a coalition to engage in more interventions and reach more people than a comparable coalition with lower relational capacity. Building these networks is crucial to the success of Every Woman Southeast but before we can strengthen our networks, we need to find out where we currently stand. Check out our Resources section if you are interested in learning more about network mapping.
For more information on network mapping and the benefits of partnering, check out these great articles!
- Valdis Krebs is an expert on social networking and founder of orgnet.com, which provides social network analysis software and services. Along with June Holley and Jack Ricchiuto, he maintains a blog that features case examples and applications of network weaving. The blog can be found at networkweaver.blogspot.com.
- Kegler MC, STeckler A, McLeroy K, Malek SH. Factors that contribute to effective community health promotion coalitions: A study of 10 project ASSIST coalitions in North Carolina. Health Education & Behavior. 1998; 25(3): 338-353.
- Krebs V & Holley J. Building smart communities through network weaving. Appalachian Center for Economic Networks.Retrieved from www.acenetworks.org. 2006.
- Wells R, Ford EW, McClure JA, Holt ML, Ward A. Community-based coalitions’ capacity for sustainable action: The role of relationships. Health Education & Behavior. 2007;34(1):124-139.