Community Mapping for New Programs

Community mapping is an essential step when launching a new fatherhood program.  This is the process of using mapping technology to identify, understand, and disseminate community issues with the intentions of informing and engaging all stakeholders in a community.  

Organizations should conduct a scan of their community to identify other groups that might be offering similar services. These organizations and agencies can:

  • Be a source of participant referrals;
  • Provide a specific service (e.g., job training, housing, mental health);
  • Offer seed money and grants for social services; and
  • Become a full collaborative partner.

In some cases, an alliance with another organization may be a way to expand services, or a new organization might focus on a specific population of fathers that is currently underserved. Identifying other social service providers can also help with:

  • Goal setting;
  • Insights on health care issues;
  • Job training and employment opportunities; and
  • Referrals to support services.

Tips & Best Practices

  • Consider the five key stages to implementing and using a community map:
    • Determine key information that your map should include; 
    • Determine the appropriate geographical scope to be covered in the process (e.g., countywide, statewide, organizational service area);
    • Collect data; 
    • Create maps; and
    • Use your community to advocate for fatherhood programs by promoting a more efficient use of community resources
  • When identifying and involving partners, UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research suggests finding people and organizations that share your interests. It is also important to involve people and organizations that have different community networks and knowledge about the neighborhood (its resources, residents and challenges).
  • Before you start developing your community map, answer a few questions:
    • What is the size of your community? (An entire county? Town? Neighborhood? Housing development?)
    • What people are available to do the work?
    • How much time do you have for the task or how much time can you allow?
    • What do you want to do with the results?
Spotlight On
Young Fathers of Santa Fe

Young Fathers of NM

Young Fathers of Santa Fe conducted a scan to identify its focus on teenagers and other young fathers. The focus on young dads was instrumental in forging relationships with school health clinics, government agencies, and other community agencies with services for a similar population.

Compile a community map in a text document, spreadsheet, or other master file that includes:

  • Name of organization or agency.
  • Mission and description of its work.
  • Key staff.
  • Possible ways of contributing to your fatherhood program.

“I never hesitate to talk with other seasoned practitioners. I don’t always have the expertise, but I have learned from those who taught us.” 
— Fatherhood Program Manager


What is community mapping?

The National Community Mapping Institute defines community mapping as using mapping technology to identify, understand, analyze, resolve, and disseminate community issues with the explicit intentions of education, engagement, and empowerment

Why is community mapping beneficial?

  • Community mapping process can help a community (1) gain in-depth information about an agency’s policies, procedures, funding streams, and collaborative practices; (2) identify opportunities and challenges for meeting the needs of the population; and (3) provide a comprehensive set of policy recommendations across agencies, along with opportunities for interagency collaboration.

When should I use community mapping?

There are many reasons to implement community mapping. To list a few, you should use community mapping when (1) you want to start a new local program and need information about available resources; (2)you are making program decisions; and (3) you want to mobilize and empower the community

Explore More

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