College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Voices Reaching Visions

Creating Strong Organizations to Enhance Communities

Voices Reaching Visions helps emergent leaders become more effective in reaching their community vision. This program builds on the skills learned in Community Voices. Participants can assess their organization, determine opportunities for community and economic development, and learn the skills they need to mobilize financial and human resources for their organization. Participants take an active role in the learning sessions, engaging with a facilitator.

Voices Reaching Visions aims to help participants identify:

  • Organizational vision, by assessing their own structure and that of other groups
  • Critical issues, needs and concerns, to craft a vision and strategy for their organization
  • Organizational goals, objectives and action steps, and turn them into opportunities for community and economic development
  • Funding needs and developing strategies to meet those needs
  • Individuals, organizations, business and institutions with whom to form working relationships

Promotional Video

  1. Voices Reaching Visions (5-minute program overview)
  2. Discovering Community Assets
  3. Building Community Networks
  4. Strengthening Organizations & Developing Leaders
  5. Demonstrating Success


Voices in Action is a report that documents the 2003 pilot projects in rural North Carolina.

This training guide consists of five parts. We have provided links below to excerpts from each manual.

Participatory Training Guide for Community Co-Facilitators

Preface, Acknowledgements, Overview, Introduction

Part 1: Assessing Your Organization’s Structure and Mission

Part 1 Contents, Tool Kits and Flip Charts

In Part 1, participants will examine the mission of the organizations they either formed or joined during the Community Voices program. They will learn about the structures of organizations: formal or informal, incorporated or unincorporated, and membership or board of directors models. They will then assess the structure of their own organization and determine if the structure they have is appropriate to their needs.

Part 2: Refining Your Organization’s Vision and Goals

Part 2 Contents, Tool Kits and Flip Charts

In Part 2, participants will discuss their organizational vision — their ideal future. They will plan to reach that vision through identifying critical issues, needs and concerns, and opportunities to address them. Through identifying goals, setting objectives, planning action steps and preparing a budget, participants can improve their likelihood of success. Finally, participants will prepare a written plan for their organizations to enhance their communities.

  • Session 1: What is the Vision of Your Organization?
  • Session 2: Planning to Reach Your Vision, Step-by-Step
  • Session 3: Identify Critical Issues, Needs and Concerns
  • Session 4: Determining Opportunities to Address Critical Issues, Needs and Concerns
  • Session 5: Identify Internal Goals of Your Organizations
  • Session 6: Developing Objectives, Action Steps and a Budget

Part 3: Planning for Community and Economic Development

Part 3 Contents and Flip Charts

In Part 3, participants will discover how to conduct research about the communities they serve. After determining what information they need to collect, participants will analyze that information and use it to seek residents’ opinions about critical issues, needs and concerns. Participants will prepare, conduct and analyze results from a community survey. They will use that analysis to determine opportunities for community and economic development and set their organization’s community goals, objectives and action steps.

  • Session 1: What information do you need about your communities?
  • Session 2: Analyzing Information About Communities You Serve
  • Session 3: Seeking People’s Opinions About Critical Issues, Needs and Concerns of Communities
  • Session 4: Conducting a Community Survey and Analyzing the Data
  • Session 5: Determining Opportunities for Community and Economic Development
  • Session 6: Identifying Your Organization’s Community Goals, Objectives and Action Steps

Part 4: Securing Funds for Your Organization

Part 4 Contents, Tool Kits and Flip Charts

In Part 4, participants will discover how to identify their organizations’ funding needs. After determining those needs, participants will identify funding sources. Participants will identify types of fundraising available to them and select which ways are feasible for their organization. They will develop fundraising tools, along with an action plan, and will follow up on that plan.

  • Session 1: Identifying Your Organization’s Funding Needs
  • Session 2: Identifying Funding Sources for Your Organization
  • Session 3: Identifying and Selecting Types of Fundraising
  • Session 4: Developing Tools and an Action Plan for Fundraising
  • Session 5: Following Up on Your Fundraising Action Plan

Part 5: Developing Working Relationships with Community Assets

Part 5 Contents, Tool Kits and Flip Charts

In Part 5, participants will learn to identify individuals, organizations, businesses and institutions with whom their organizations might wish to form working relationships. They will learn about researching and finding assets within their communities, types of working relationships they might form and the elements involved in forming these relationships. Then they will develop working relationships and evaluate their progress.

  • Session 1: Identifying Assets for Action Steps
  • Session 2: Seeking Assets That Can Help You Take Action
  • Session 3: Types of Working Relationships for Taking Action
  • Session 4: Elements for Forming Working Relationships
  • Session 5: Developing and Evaluating Working Relationships

To order copies of this curriculum, please send a completed order form to Dr. Michelle Eley via mail or email. Each book is $25, however when all five books are ordered the total cost is $100 (a $25 discount).

Contact Information

Michelle Eley, Ph.D.
Community and Economic Development Specialist
North Carolina A&T State University
Cooperative Extension at A&T
P.O. Box 21928
Greensboro, NC 27420-1928
Phone: 336-334-7956