Convene Local Partners

The Age Well Initiative is successful to the extent that it is a community effort. This relies on an engaged coalition of local partners, who are deeply committed to building a rural community that more strongly supports older adults and their families.

Getting from a small group of interested leaders to a broad-reaching local coalition takes collaboration, leadership, and ongoing attention.


Create a broad coalition — bring local partners together around a common problem: recognizing connectivity and awareness as key needs for a better local aging environment.


Identify a local collaborative strategy that responds to your own community’s need.


Solicit feedback from community members.


Build a shared leadership structure to sustain the work.

Convene Action Step 1: Create a broad coalition

For your kick-off meeting, invite people across sectors including senior care, healthcare, community education, city & county departments, faith communities, media, and senior groups.


Example of a Coalition Member List (click to download)

Community Toolbox

Use Case Exercise


What We’ve Learned:

  • Once you’ve identified a potential list, make personal connections for buy-in and to explain the benefits to collaborating.
  • Ask each potential partner to identify another person to invite or to bring with them to your first meeting.
  • Find a high profile, local champion, e.g., a mayor, prominent business person, senior care leader, well-known senior community member.
  • Consider placing an open invitation in local media to attract attention and start to raise community awareness about your initiative.
  • Identify a strong “backbone” organization. This is critical to the success of this type of effort. The lead organization should have convening ability, excellent connections to other community organizations, and a commitment to work through start-up barriers with creativity and persistence.
  • The initial invite should be to a broad-based aging network, including the faith community, businesses, medical providers, local government, community ed, etc.

Convene Action Step 2: Identify a Local Collaborative Strategy

As a group, work together to assess your community’s landscape. With a view of local assets and gaps, design a local solution that connects, builds on, and strengthens what you have in place.



What We’ve Learned:

  • Know the “why” this work needs to be done and continually articulate this with your group.
  • Provide meaningful connectivity among local formal and informal service providers
  • Make it easier for older adults and their families to connect with services, resources, and events that exist in their community to support them.
  • Identify local assets and gaps. As a group, plot these visually on the wall. This allows you to truly see the local landscape.
  • Recognize what is already working in your community. Don’t reinvent the wheel!
  • Have a neutral facilitator – it signals that the project is truly owned by the community and not by any one organization.
  • Seek a host organization with a history of deep collaboration, trust, and close partnerships in the community.

Convene Action Step 3: Get Community Feedback

Test your ideas with community surveys, interviews, and/or conversations that include older adults and their families.


Example Survey, Older Adult

Example Survey, Caregiver/Supporter


What We’ve Learned:

  • Use the surveys above to talk to both older adults and those who surround and support them (partners, adult children, faith communities, and more!)
  • Input does not need to be a formal research process. Whatever you do, find a way to get out in your community to hear broad perspectives on what people need and what they care most about.
  • Look for other sources of information about gaps in seniors services in your area.
  • Focus groups with existing seniors groups in your area can be a great way to get exposure for your initiative and get feedback.

Convene Action Step 4: Build a Shared Leadership Structure

Create a steering committee to lead the larger coalition and to build in sustainability from the start.


Project Coordinator Job Description

Example Initiative Workplan

Grant template

Grant and Financial Guidance from the Community Toolbox

Example Annual Project Budget


What We’ve Learned:

  • Your lead organization should be:
    • a trusted leader in your local aging services community
    • known for community collaboration and partnership
    • willing to commit some staff resources to project management, convening, and possibly facilitation
  • Maintain a committed group of shared leaders. This is a steering committee for decision making, creating initiative work plans, and overseeing project elements. Steering Committees often include 3-5 leading partners across your local agencies. Likely examples might include older adult housing providers, aging services providers, and Area Agencies on Aging.
  • Dedicate a strong project manager. Expect a commitment a minimum of 10 hours per week and up to 0.25 FTE.
  • Convene an ongoing provider coalition. Assign work groups to focus on specific issues, e.g. community education, community partnerships, sustainability, marketing and communications
  • Create a work plan based and assign tasks to work groups or committees.
  • Prepare a budget with expenses necessary to complete work.
  • Consider funding options including donations from local organizations and grants from government programs or private foundations.

View Community Stories

Get Started