At ACF, we believe that a strong and diverse movement of people taking action together is essential to achieve our goals and create thriving communities and ecosystems.
Every year we make time to reflect on how our grassroots movement is functioning. This is where your voice comes in – to help us think about what’s working well, what isn’t, and where ACF can lend a hand to get wonderful folk from all walks of life involved and represented in the movement.
We define group health as “the conditions that enable groups to effectively function and achieve impact”. We measure group health because we believe that group health is the single biggest indicator of whether a group will be impactful and achieve their and ACF’s people power objectives.
The annual Group Health Report gives a useful snapshot of how ACF community groups around Australia are functioning: are they working together effectively, do they feel well supported and where (if anywhere) can ACF intervene with training, tools or additional support.
We measure group health based partly on Google’s re:Work principles on team health (and would like to acknowledge Holly Hammond’s excellent work in translating this for social movements). Extensive research found healthy teams weren’t a collection of the best-qualified or most highly-skilled. Rather, the best functioning teams were ones where team-members felt safe to suggest new ideas, admit to mistakes, work through issues together and had a clear idea of how their work contributed to overarching goals and strategies.
Google found the number one influence on team health was psychological safety, followed by dependability, structure & clarity, meaning of work and impact of work. We also measure group health based on what indicators help ACF ascertain whether people power is contributing to ACF’s organisational goals such as group growth & retention, diversity, leadership development and sustainability of the work.
We have also taken the opportunity to measure how well supported members feel both from their group and ACF. Together, these measures help us more quickly identify potential opportunities to improve how we support groups to be healthy and impactful.
You can read more about each of these indicators of group health here.
Sensitive identifiable information will be deleted after 18 months.
Each year we track local and national trends in Group Health to help us better understand the strengths and areas for growth within our ACF community. The Group Health Coordinator (Britta Wigginton) is responsible for analysing and writing up all group health data, ultimately serving as an objective and neutral voice to both ACF groups and Organisers. In their volunteer capacity, they become someone to whom you can speak honestly and openly with. Feel free to contact Britta at [email protected]
We produce Group Health reports tailored to specific audiences. You will receive an individual group health report for your local group if the following two criteria are met: there are more than 5 responses to the survey (to maintain anonymity of group members), and your group has been active for at least 6 months (the survey is retrospective, so having time and experience working together as a group is important). You will then also be invited to be part of a tailored workshop for your Group. These workshops are facilitated by the Group Health Coordinator who aims to provide a balanced and supportive approach to the planning and implementation of the survey results.
We will also produce a national level report to give a big picture view of all ACF community groups. Have a read of the 2020 Group Health Report. We also produce a series of recommendations for group members and ACF that will be described in this national report (as well as individual reports). It is important that we don’t just report on group health, but also on the action we’re taking as a result of their feedback. These recommendations drive where we put our energy and how we move forward to better support our ACF community.
Thanks to all of the campaigners, organisers, grassroots leaders and volunteers involved in our movement, we have learned a lot about what keeps groups healthy and impactful. If you’re keen to learn more, check out the resources for improving your group health.
Nature teaches us that seasonality is part of life; there are periods of harvest and abundance just as there are times to prepare for wet weather and bunkering down. We understand that adapting to the seasonal fluctuations of your group and group needs means you might need extra support from us.
It can be particularly helpful having someone external to your group to help support during rough patches or periods of flux within a group. For this reason, the Group Health Coordinator is a defined person at ACF (as part of the Fellowship Program) who is ready and willing to support groups. You will be offered a facilitated Group Health Workshop as part of the Group Health Survey - it is from there that Britta will arrange a time and date for this Workshop.