One Omaha is different from other nonprofits because we don’t do any organizing. Instead, we support grassroots leaders who are doing the organizing. We do this by providing information and resources to resident-led groups looking to increase their capacity. One resource we provide is our free facilitation services. Services include asset mapping, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, strategic planning, and visioning sessions.
These services aim to help groups become more effective by understanding their strengths and weaknesses, coming to a consensus on goals, identifying opportunities for collaboration, and creating action plans to achieve those goals.
Groups often form based on shared values but can lack specific project goals. Without clear goals, groups can lack buy-in and potentially fall apart. One Omaha can help groups understand the landscape in which they are working (through asset mapping and SWOT analysis) and brainstorm ways their values can translate into project goals (through visioning sessions and project planning).
Sometimes groups find that direction is lacking after achieving their initial goal. Similarly, they may find their goals are so big that they are hard to reach or break down into smaller steps. Our facilitation services can help groups brainstorm the outcomes they wish to see based on their common goals, and then create project ideas that will lead to the desired outcomes (strategic planning).
Many groups have utilized our facilitation services within the past year.
The Green Omaha Coalition student subcommittee is a group of young folks who want to raise awareness about how people in Omaha can manage the effects of climate change. We worked with them in March 2022 to identify common themes and values among members and brainstorm their ultimate goals. The process looked like this:
We circled recurring themes as we went through and listed goals and values.
Then we laid out the most often mentioned themes and identified them as shared values.
From there, we asked how to achieve these values and created a mission statement.
Then we examined what these values in action would look like and created goals.
Using the goals as an endpoint, we broke down the necessary steps to achieve the goals and put those steps on a timeline.
Then we discussed what job roles would be required to accomplish smaller tasks on the timeline and created a list of roles and responsibilities for group members.
Finally, we explored how group members will hold each other accountable and created a list of expectations.
The group left with a list of roles, achievable tasks, end goals, and a mission statement.
We also worked with Free Farm Syndicate in December 2021 to develop budget lists and project ideas for neighborhood grant applications in 2022. We followed a similar process, but because Free Farm members have been working together for longer, we didn’t need to brainstorm mission statements or common values. Instead, the process was as follows:
We started with everyone sharing their personal goals for the organization in 2022, making sure to circle any repeated goals.
Then we prioritized the goals that repeated most often, and identified which goals could be combined (for example: growing more produce and sharing produce with more people).
Once we organized the goals, we laid out a timeline of smaller tasks required to achieve the goals and asked, “What does the group need to accomplish these goals?”
We used this question to brainstorm budget items and roles and responsibilities.
Some of the roles and responsibilities were already taken care of by members. Still, some were new, so members had to decide how to divide the tasks. Following the session, One Omaha produced an organizational report that Free Farm was able to use to inform their grant asks for 2022. They received over $9,000 in funding.
There are a lot of great ideas and passionate people in Omaha. One of the most useful services One Omaha can provide is serving as a facilitator for these types of brainstorming meetings. We want folks ready to make a change to be able to focus on doing that while we focus on guiding and recording the conversation.
After each session, One Omaha staff will create a report detailing the process used in the session and listing all of the brainstorming results along with recommendations for funding opportunities and possible collaborations. The information is then sent to the group and saved in One Omaha’s archives. Reports are available to other grassroots groups who may want to explore work that has been done in a similar geographic area.
Not sure where to start? Fill out our pre-assessment, and we will reach out to you with ideas!
Ready to go? Submit your request for facilitation services!
If you have questions, contact One Omaha’s Engagement Manager Alex O’Hanlon.
This blog was written by Alex O’Hanlon, One Omaha’s engagement manager.