The Guiding Principles of the NORC Blueprint
Understanding the Community
Guiding Principle #1: Effective NORC programs are built on a thorough understanding of the community and the residents who live there.
Guiding Principle #2: NORC programs gather different types of information from many sources at different points in time and use them for many purposes and multiple audiences.
Guiding Principle #3: Involving a variety of stakeholders in the process of understanding the community forges relationships that sustain a NORC program.
Guiding Principle #4: Once information is organized in a coherent framework, community stakeholders begin to interpret it.
Guiding Principle #5: The process of understanding the community enables NORC program planners and community stakeholders to craft an agenda for action.
Partnering with the Community
Guiding Principle #1: Forming partnerships is central to the function and operation of a NORC program.
Guiding Principle #2: Core partners align their goals and priorities.
Guiding Principle #3: Partners make different levels of commitment to a NORC program.
Guiding Principle #4: A NORC program is guided by a governance structure that meets local needs and clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of each partner.
Guiding Principle #5: Relationships among NORC program partners are continually evolving.
Guiding Principle #6: Effective communication strategies allow partners to break down the barriers that traditionally separate them.
Guiding Principle #7: A NORC program becomes woven into the fabric of the surrounding community through its partnerships.
Designing and Implementing a NORC Program
Guiding Principle #1: A NORC program plans a core set of integrated services that meet individual needs and promote community change.
Guiding Principle #2: Effective NORC programs have in place adequate people resources—staff and volunteers with the right skill mix—and other resources, including space, equipment, supplies, and a budget, before the programs are launched.
Guiding Principle #3: A stable mix of public and private financial resources supports the basic activities and services of a NORC program.
Guiding Principle #4: A NORC program drills down to identify the component parts of a problem and to set priorities for action.
Guiding Principle #5: A NORC program plans and launches specific projects that collectively address the many dimensions of a problem.
Guiding Principle #6: A NORC program measures its progress to determine whether its projects are on track to reach their goals.
Evaluating Projects of a NORC Program
Guiding Principle #1: A NORC program incorporates a well-planned evaluation into projects as early as possible in their development.
Guiding Principle #2: Each project evaluation is sharply focused and designed to be practical.
Guiding Principle #3: To conduct a useful evaluation, a NORC program commits adequate human and financial resources and develops efficient recordkeeping systems.
Guiding Principle #4: A NORC program involves its partners in the process of deriving meaning from its evaluation findings.
Guiding Principle #5: A well-structured evaluation generates knowledge that the program communicates to the larger community and translates into action.
Sustaining a NORC Program
Guiding Principle #1: Strategic planning guides the evolution of a NORC program and is essential to its future.
Guiding Principle #2: As a NORC program moves beyond its start-up phase, it continuously pursues more stable and diversified funding.
Guiding Principle #3: Visionary leaders and strong managers are both critical to the success of a NORC program.
Guiding Principle #4: A NORC program communicates its goals and accomplishments to the broader community in order to secure buy-in and a lasting commitment.
Guiding Principle #5: A NORC program remains relevant by anticipating and responding to change, and refreshing itself with new people.
Guiding Principle #6: NORC programs become advocates for state and local legislation that provides stable, long-term funds.
Guiding Principle #7: As an agent of change, a NORC program reflects and challenges its partners and the community it serves.