top of page
61d5d61831c65.image.jpg
61d5d61831c65_edited.jpg

LESSONS LEARNED

Grantees from the three rounds were asked to reflect on the grant process and share advice for those who continue this type of work. The following compiles this advice into 3 topics: community engagement, internal capacity building, and advocacy. 

BIKE EAST BAY

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT LESSONS

  • Community engagement is always needed. Though there is a desire to move quickly to accomplish ambitious goals, progress must be achieved with residents leading the vision. 

  • Storytelling humanizes the people who use streets. It shares different perspectives and voices, and brings resources to the table. Collecting and preparing stories to publish is often overlooked because it takes a lot of work, so plan accordingly and don’t skimp on it.  

  • Those most impacted by mobility sovereignty are the ones who have limited time and resources for community organizing efforts.

  • Continue to focus on innovative ways to engage transit dependent bus riders. Providing stipends for participation, employment opportunities and childcare stipends provided access to organizing for those most impacted. There’s still work to do organizing with those most impacted and centering them as leaders in the long-term.

  • Opening community meetings or workshops to wider, inter-disciplinary stakeholders can make for a richer conversation and can foster a greater sense of shared vision and understanding among community members.

  • While initially concerned with the threat of low participation, the intimacy of a small-group format allowed attendees to have a positive, thorough interaction with a government agency to address complex topics.

  • Take time to meet people where they’re at. While a virtual survey can be helpful, nothing could replace conversations with people on the street. 

  • Attending one large festival and having the resources and materials to engage so many people at one event saved significant time that otherwise would have been used to identify and attend many smaller events to reach the same number of people. 

  • Partnering with a trusted community partner is key for reaching community members. They can be a solid base-building force as the backbone of larger civic engagement and issue campaigns. 

  • Expanding the advocacy base to include more impacted communities - especially communities of color - requires focusing on relationship-building between people leading the effort and community leaders. It is important to make the time to listen and have conversations about specific priorities before providing education and training. 

  • It is worth putting the time and effort into developing websites and social media presence to be able to communicate with people more effectively online.

INTERNAL CAPACITY BUILDING LESSONS

  • Hiring outreach workers on stipends for shorter periods of time is ideal for 8-12 weeks of work. This way, it doesn’t feel rushed and people can confidently commit the time. 

  • To grow and serve more people, nonprofit organizations need what any consumer-facing organization needs: for more people to know about it. A well-funded, well-designed campaign can bring in substantial numbers of new participants. 

  • Utilize data to drive forward impactful advocacy. Investing in data and research operations can strengthened an organization’s role as a thought leader and can enable them to step up as a community resource for other advocates. 

  • Traditionally white and well-resourced organizations can’t rush people past the healing and urgent community work that needs to happen on-the-ground. The trust-building process leads to the best long-term outcomes. Invest in transformational, not transactional relationships. 

ADVOCACY LESSONS

  • Small non-profits have limited capacity that can make it hard or impossible to do things they want to do and/or are offered funding to do. Small Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) have trouble increasing capacity to respond to new opportunities. 

  • There is a way to expertly thread the needle between partnering with government and holding government accountable. If this is done strategically and thoughtfully, this can be a major factor in the success of a project.

  • Leveraged ongoing commitments to community engagement throughout the life of the project, and because of advocacy those commitments are tied to accountability mechanisms with affected communities.

  • Efforts to both partner and pressure will result in more equitable transit access, more community resources, and movement toward a climate-sustainable future.

  • To effectively connect with non-English-speaking communities, deep engagement is crucial. Approach this endeavor with enthusiasm and ambition, especially within your local neighborhoods, which are often rich in diversity. Instead of attempting to reach out in multiple languages simultaneously, it's more effective to concentrate on activities targeting one or two languages at a time.

  • There has not been a decline in traffic fatalities in the past several years, so continue to advocate for the proven investments to make streets safer for all users.

  • Effectively building a broad-based coalition can influence political will during a major period of political transition. A key to a campaign’s success is a robust lineup of listening sessions, voter polling, meetings with elected officials, intersectional coalition partner engagement, and the creation of multimedia advocacy resources. 

  • While a lot of people are curious about alternatives to existing transportation challenges, many don’t have a lot of ideas about what those alternatives look like. More work needs to be done to educate people about the alternatives and how to create community-based solutions. 

  • Eliciting leadership commitments from elected officials and cooperation from City government helps build advocacy work into existing initiatives and implement proposed outcomes sooner. 

  • Success is bolstered by extensive campaign planning and pre-existing relationships among coalition members that were built well before the award.  

  • Relational work always takes longer than anticipated. Policy and systems change work is long-term, people/partner dependent, and requires significant coordination and collaboration.  

bottom of page