3.8 Best Practice: Communicating Your Needs

What We’re Hearing

Strong communication is the key to a positive partnership. When communication is fraught, it can lead to breakdown in other areas of site management.

Owners are faced with aligning themselves internally to manage the site. At the same time, operators and third parties are often challenged by the complex nature of communications within governments, having a hard time reaching contacts spread across multiple departments.

Sites can also become isolated from the community fabric from a lack of communication with sites under the same ownership.

Best Practices

Set your partnership up for strong communication by designating a clear point of contact for each party in the partnership agreement. The contact may need to change as the partnership evolves and roles become more defined. Be respectful of each party’s communication style and capacity to communicate – cultural factors or limited human resources may influence response timelines. Don’t underestimate the importance of informal relationship building and getting to know the people on the “other side.”

Best Practices for Owners

  • Simplify lines of communication to the best of your ability and understand the incompatibilities of bureaucratic and non-profit structures.
  • Create opportunities for sites under your ownership to connect and network with you and each other.
  • The way that an owner values a site and perceives it as either an asset or liability, is key to its success. Work to keep yourself informed of the valuable contributions by your operating partners by checking in with them and getting to know how the site is enhancing the community.
  • Best Practices for Operators and Third Parties

  • Make yourselves heard - assert your needs and advocate for the site in a clear, direct way. The owner can’t address issues if they don’t know about them.
  • When multiple third parties are involved, consider designating a lead third party as a point of contact to avoid overcomplicated communications.
  • Try This – Operators and Third Parties

    Keep in touch with the site owner – actively highlight the successes of your work in informal ways, such as sharing projects and achievements with City councillors or officials or by tagging the owner in social media posts (where appropriate). It is important to keep the owner and associated stakeholders in the loop about the value of the site to the community.