Aligning systems across sectors to improve community well-being is a big task, and it involves many different people who often have different roles both within their individual organizations and within the collaborative. These different roles may need different approaches to measurement. The TEAM includes guidance on use for people in the roles listed below:
- Community members
- Practitioners in health care, public health, social services, and other sectors
- Researchers and people hoping to share their learnings with others
Communities Members of the Community
People sometimes mean different things when they refer to community members. To help build a common language between partners, it is helpful to clarify the community of interest for each collaborative or aligning effort. Here, community members refers to people who live in the community that the collaborative or aligning effort serves. This could include people with a certain type of disability, people in need of a certain kind of service, residents in a given geographical area, etc. Community members may already be identified explicitly in the collaborative’s founding documents, though careful thought may be required to accurately identify the people who are actually the most likely to benefit or suffer from the work of the collaborative.
It is increasingly recognized that collaboratives are more likely to be successful in focusing on the needs of the communities they serve when members of the community are represented among decision-makers in the collaborative. In some cases, community members themselves may have initiated the collaborative or the aligning effort. For these reasons, community members may have many of the same reasons for measuring collaborative work as practitioners, who are usually not so closely tied to the community in focus. However, community members may also have different interests. Likely their community is the focus of collaborative work partly because their community is facing one or more social disadvantages such as isolation or lack of financial resources. Such disadvantage may leave members of that community vulnerable to being powerless, exploited, or dominated by others, perhaps even other partners in the same collaborative. For that reason, community members may want to identify, emphasize, and select measures they themselves understand to be especially important for their community.
How Community Members Can Use the TEAM
- The Compendium of Measures offers a wide selection of measures to choose from.
- Community members may also want a set of recommended measures that they can use to hold institutional partners accountable to standards. The Featured Set part of the TEAM will be helpful in such cases.
- Community members may use the GrAASP Assessment as a way of having their voices heard while the collaborative collectively reflects on its efforts.
In many cases, funding requires program evaluation. Even if not required, formal evaluations can be an excellent source of information for finding out what is working. Evaluations may be conducted by internal or external partners, though external evaluators may provide more objective assessments as a function of their social distance from members of the collaborative.
How Evaluators Can Use the TEAM
Regardless of evaluation approach selected, each of the four parts of the TEAM is potentially useful to evaluators:
- The Featured Set contains measures others already consider useful for assessing aligning across sectors.
- For promoting team-building during the evaluation process, the process of collecting less-comparative measurements with the GrAASP assessment may be preferred.
Funders are positioned to set the tone of a collaborative or an aligning effort because they can attach requirements and incentives to their funding. They balance and coordinate their imperatives with the wishes of the communities in which they invest. For these reasons, they may have uses for measurement that are similar to those of practitioners and community members. As stewards of important resources, however, they ultimately will decide on what they feel is a good investment. This is the same whether the funds are disbursed by a government organization, a philanthropy, a business organization, or any other funder.
How Funders Can Use the TEAM
- Funders are likely to want to identify good investments by learning from the experience of a wide range of collaboratives. The standardized measures in the Featured Set can help with this. The Featured Set may give some idea of the progress being made in a collaborative or aligning effort. Measures in the Featured Set are not guaranteed to definitively or comprehensively indicate whether an aligning effort is doing well or not doing well, but taken together, the measures in the Featured Set should help identify gaps, opportunities, and successes that others have viewed as important in other collaborative efforts.
- Another way to think about how well a collaborative is doing is to ask the collaborative for its own self-rating. The GrAASP assessment is designed to help with this. Funders could encourage participants to use the GrAASP tool to identify areas where the collaborative collectively thinks it is succeeding or has the potential for improvement.
Practitioners refers to people working in health care, public health, social services, or other fields that may work collaboratively to improve a community’s well-being. This could include a hospital administrator, nurse, public health clinic director, public health researcher, staff at a community-based organization, a judge, an educator, etc. The common factor among practitioners is that they all work in service institutions, and their institutional affiliation is likely to be an important driver of how they engage in collaboratives, although they may have a professional or personal stake in the collaborative’s success.
How Practitioners Can Use the TEAM
Practitioners are often interested in understanding and improving operations in their collaborative, and all four parts of the TEAM will be helpful:
- They may want to select relevant measures from a wide range of options, and they can do this using the part of TEAM that is called the Compendium of Measures.
- They may also want to determine if their collaborative has the basic elements of an aligning effort, as depicted in the Framework for Aligning Sectors, and may want to use the Base Set.
- Alternatively, they may want to see how their organization is doing on a wider set of measures designed for assessing collaboratives and aligning efforts, and the Featured Set part of the TEAM will help them do that.
Finally, practitioners may be interested in bringing their institutional and community partners together and, as a group, deciding how they feel their collaborative is doing by using their own metrics or even their own intuition. That is where the GrAASP Assessment will be helpful.Researchers Researchers
Researchers are often well-suited to help draw together learnings across collaboratives and aligning efforts in order to identify promising practices and identify the contexts in which those practices are most effective.
How Researchers Can Use the TEAM
Each part of the four parts of the TEAM could be helpful in this work. However, if every collaborative is measured on different dimensions, it can be difficult to identify tendencies across contexts, across given types of contexts, in multisite aligning initiatives under the same program, etc.
- Researchers and others interested in learning across contexts may find the standard measures in the Featured Set especially helpful.
In the course of their work, researchers, and the practitioners they work with, are likely to identify new insights on how to measure aligning across sectors that could be helpful to others. These ideas could be helpful for updates to the TEAM. Researchers, and all other users of the TEAM system, can contribute their ideas to future versions of the TEAM here.