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Making Collaboration Count: A Tool for Tracking and Building Participation in Community Collaboratives and Coalitions

Evaluation is necessary not only for assessing the impact of programs and interventions, but also for gathering actionable feedback on the ways in which organizations work together. Continuous evaluation of collaboratives themselves can help to address common issues, such as getting the right people at the table, balancing multiple stakeholder priorities, avoiding tokenism, and perhaps most importantly, encouraging participation and maintaining it over time. With the growing interest in collaborative processes over the past several years—and with collaboration and coalition development as a key practice competency identified by the Society for Community Research and Action (2012)—it is necessary to identify new tools that can be used to evaluate coalition processes, promote participation, and to ensure that these groups function in a way that promotes working toward collective goals. This article presents a tool and supporting strategies for tracking and encouraging participation in collaborative processes, as well as a case example illustrating how this tool has been utilized within the North Jersey Health Collaborative. 


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