5 Skills Community Developers Need in Order to Scale

In the rapidly evolving landscape of community development, the challenge isn’t just in starting projects but in scaling them effectively. As we navigate through intricate networks of stakeholders, regulations, and market dynamics, certain skills stand out as crucial for community developers. The Equity Report has identified five key skills essential for any community developer looking to scale their projects successfully.


  1. Governmental Penetration

Understanding and navigating the labyrinth of government regulations and building relationships with key policymakers is vital. This skill ensures developers can secure approvals, funding, and support more efficiently, thereby accelerating project timelines. It involves staying abreast of changing regulations, leveraging government programs, and engaging in effective lobbying to align project objectives with public policy. Here is a link to a comprehensive guide to building a government relations program: https://blog.businesswire.com/strategy-is-the-best-policy-building-a-successful-government-relations-program


  1. Media Development

A robust media strategy can elevate a project’s profile, attract investment, and build community support. Developers need to harness the power of both traditional and digital media platforms to craft compelling narratives around their projects. This skill requires an understanding of media relations, content creation, and social media engagement to drive visibility and public interest. Here is a media development guide we found that can get you started: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/06/07/strategic-planning-for-community-media-centers/?sh=16f0029c1986


  1. Focus on Public Relations

Public relations go hand-in-hand with media development, emphasizing the creation and maintenance of a positive public image. Effective PR strategies can mitigate opposition, build stakeholder trust, and foster community support. Skills in crisis management, event organization, and stakeholder communication are critical components of a successful PR toolkit for any community developer. Here is an insight guide from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2022/06/27/10-ways-to-develop-a-successful-pr-campaign/?sh=14313d0743b1


  1. Understand How to Build and Evaluate Pro Formas

A clear understanding of financial modeling is crucial for assessing the viability of development projects. Pro formas allow developers to project revenues, costs, and profitability, enabling informed decision-making and investment attraction. This skill involves a deep dive into market analysis, cost estimation, and financial forecasting to ensure projects are financially sustainable and appealing to investors. Here’s a free Wharton financial modeling course that will help you get started: https://www.coursera.org/


  1. Strategic Partnership Development

No project succeeds in isolation. Forming strategic partnerships with businesses, non-profits, and community organizations can provide essential resources, expertise, and support. This skill focuses on identifying potential partners, negotiating mutually beneficial agreements, and maintaining strong, productive relationships to leverage collective strengths and achieve common goals. Here is a step-by-step guide from LinkedIn to help you begin developing strategic partnerships: https://www.linkedin.com/advice/0/what-best-ways-build-strategic-partnerships


Finally, successful community developers must excel in engaging with and advocating for the communities they serve. This involves listening to community needs, involving them in the planning process, and acting as their champion in securing resources and support. By fostering a sense of ownership and participation, developers can ensure their projects have lasting positive impacts.


These five skills—governmental penetration, media development, focus on public relations, understanding pro formas, strategic partnership development, and community engagement and advocacy—are indispensable in the toolkit of any community developer looking to scale. As the field continues to evolve, so too will the demand for these competencies. Embracing and refining these skills will not only drive the success of individual projects but also contribute to the sustainable development of communities at large.


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