More Shared Measurement Questions Answered – Part 2

In November 2011, FSG conducted a webinar to discuss Shared Measurement in Collective Impact (CI).  During that webinar, FSG received over 150 questions from participants, and in the time allotted we were unable to address all of them.    To continue the webinar’s learning agenda, we asked one of our panelists – Pat Bowie of Magnolia Place Community Initiative (MPCI) – to respond to two additional and critical questions from the audience, providing her perspective as a CI practitioner.

This post is a continuation of Pat Bowie’s responses to questions asked during FSG’s Shared Measurement Webinar in November 2011. The previous week’s post focused on her view around the role of funders, while this week will focus on the level of community engagement in creating shared measurement for collective impact.

Once again, we would love to hear from you about your thoughts on these questions, or about other questions you would like to see profiled with future CI practitioners. Please comment below to continue the dialogue.

Question: What was the level of community engagement in developing shared measurement? Who did you engage, and at what stage? How did you maintain the community at the table?

The shared measurement strategy and each of the data elements require a different “community” group and engagement strategy to gather not only agreement on the shared measures but assistance in the development and administration of the data tool and the effective use of the results. There isn’t one table at which everyone gathers. However, there is a self-selected Magnolia Research Group that oversees and supports this endeavor.

For example, the MPCI Partners determined the various measures that reflect their best estimation of their actions and short-term impacts. This includes using empathic care, asking about family stressors, maternal depression or child development concerns, as well as being offered information about social support and other services within the community.

A small group of Magnolia Partners agreed to “test” the Networks assumptions with family members through focus groups and also to then “test” the specific questions and questionnaires.

Families are now asked monthly if they are experiencing any change in their experiences with providers from the multiple sectors, thus giving organizational providers quick feedback as to whether they have been making the agreed-upon change to their practice.

Another example is the Protective Factor and Community Belonging Survey. This is administered to test for penetration and improvement at the population level. One of the first collective actions taken by the Initiative partners was developing a Protective Factor and Community Belonging Survey. This survey was administered in the fall of 2009 and was just repeated in September 2011.

MPCI Network Partners used the concepts of participatory action research in the development and administration of the community survey and in how to share the data collected. The research process adopted for these surveys was not exactly a community participatory model. A more “pure” participatory action research process would have deferred to community members to define their own issues of concern or interest rather than have the research interests of others predominate. However, within Los Angeles, the protective factors had already been introduced by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and “enhancing protective factors” as part of a service strategy had begun gaining momentum and acceptance with Casey Family Programs, First 5 LA, and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Families’ Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project (PIDP). Contributing to the learning and understanding of the protective factors as a framework for prevention affords a key point of connectivity as well as potential influence with policymakers and funders at the larger systems levels, within Los Angeles and the larger landscape.

Input was gathered from small groups of community residents on the protective factors (i.e., what the factors meant to them, if they resonated, how they would ask or talk about them with friends and neighbors). This information was then used to adapt the survey and train the community health promoters (promotoras) who then approached and administered the survey to community members.

The promotoras shared the results of the surveys by facilitating community dialogues. Hosted by local groups, organizations, churches, schools and parks, the dialogues are loosely based on the “community café” model.

These local groups were then invited to assist in helping to understand how well their children are doing. This began by delineating the geography of their neighborhoods. This information in turn was used to map the EDI data. Mapping the EDI to locally designated neighborhoods provides local groups and organizations the opportunity to look at how the children are doing within their specific neighborhood. Together these groups can now explore how efforts can be more effectively enhanced, coordinated and aligned to improve the support available for families during the crucial years of children’s development. 

Visit the webinar page where you can download the Magnolia Place sample dashboard, an excellent example of shared measurement in practice.

About Patricia Bowie, MPH, Consultant, Magnolia Place Community Initiative: For more than a decade, Patricia has been helping Los Angeles based organizations develop cross-sector relationships to effectively and efficiently work with each other to achieve common goals and to implement change that results in real improvement.  Two of her long-term endeavors have been the Magnolia Place Community Initiative and the South LA Child Welfare Initiative, both recognized as promising Collective Impact strategies.

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