At this stage, many initiatives also make critical choices regarding how they want to operate in the future.
This can be tricky, and 58% of initiative leaders said they sometimes had difficulty in gaining consensus on the best way to achieve their mission. In addition to highlighting the challenges of collaboration, this insight also surfaced an underlying, related issue – many initiatives do not have clear ways to meaningfully assess their impact. Absent this understanding, it can be difficult to define how to move forward.
It’s not just what they do, but how they organise.
Many initiatives test out different modes of operating – from loose collectives to structured organisations with defined roles and responsibilities. While a more informal approach allows initiatives to stay lean, agile and minimises pressure on the participants; some struggle with how to maintain accountability in a flat hierarchy.
Similarly, initiatives struggled with deciding whether or not to grow. While it was a natural progression for some, one initiative leader said they were worried about the impact that growth would have on the “cosiness,” fun and familiarity that the initiative members had with one another. This speaks to the unique character of community initiatives – as volunteer-driven efforts, they may have few incentives to expand, for fear of more work, more expectations, and more pressure.