Building trust with diverse communities will require significant investment. However the relationships you establish are the foundation for all programme development so it’s worth taking the time to get this right.
Here are some tips that can help you build trust with diverse communities.
Take time to build trust first, not programmes
Strong, credible relationships will be critical to the success of your programme. It is essential that these relationships are based on mutual trust.
- Focus on building relationships first, not delivering programmes. It takes time to connect before you can move into development mode.
- There is a risk, particularly with young people from diverse communities, which they will tell you what you want to hear – it is important to build trust so they have the confidence to be able to say what they really want and if they don’t agree with your approach.
- Drafting an agreement letter at the start of a partnership can help frame expectations and help foster trust. It is also useful if/when things start to go off track as you have a starting point for discussion. Always try to make sure any agreement is mutually beneficial.
- A trusted community member will provide credibility and help build trust. Who in your target community can help you do this?
- Consultation is only the first step. In order to build trust, you need provide opportunities for the community to participate in programme development, delivery and review.
Target your focus and leverage limited resources
Establishing meaningful relationships requires significant investment – so try not to overstretch your focus and be smart with the limited resources you have.
- Target your focus. With limited time and resource it can be better to establish really good connections with a trusted few.
- Try and draw on resource from your target communities. This often saves time and it also provides the opportunity to build the capacity of the community moving forward.
- Leverage your connections. Often after establishing trust with one community contact, other doors within the community open. Introductions and referrals will only start once your connections understand and trust your intentions.
- Keep building relationships with trusted contacts in the community. These contacts become your sounding board for further programme development. They will also become critical in programme delivery as once you have built trust these key contacts will happily promote to their communities.
- Don’t try to be everything to everyone – less is more.