Indicators of Network Health

Evaluating network health involves assessing the degree to which the network is cohering around shared goals and developing a positive culture of collaboration. The factors listed below are especially critical to the long-term success of impact networks and their ability to keep participants engaged.

1. Purpose & Principles

  • Network participants have identified and are aligned around a relevant high-level purpose.
  • Network participants have identified and are aligned around a set of shared values and/or principles.
  • Network activities are effective at advancing the network’s purpose.
  • Network activities are designed and implemented in alignment with the network’s principles.

2. Participation & Engagement

  • Network participants include a broad cross-section of people and organizations that are well suited to address its purpose.
  • Network participants have the authority, autonomy, resources, and experiences necessary to contribute effectively to the network.
  • Network participants are engaged with and contributing to the network.
  • The network engages with important external stakeholders. 

3. Relationships & Trust

  • Network participants seek to develop strong, meaningful relationships with one another.
  • Network participants share information with one another in a manner that is open and timely.
  • Network participants are able to acknowledge and address important conversations about the network and its future.
  • Network participants are able to engage in and resolve conflicts with one another.

4. Structures & Agreements

  • The network has defined a governance structure that meets network needs.
  • The network has defined agreements clarifying how participants can engage in the network.
  • Network participants make decisions through a process that is inclusive and transparent.
  • Resources and power within the network are shared equitably.

5. Coordination & Communication

  • Network coordinators serve the network as stewards, letting the network lead, nurturing its growth, and constantly anticipating its needs and challenges.
  • The network has the necessary communications systems in place to share information, capture learnings, and track conversation topics.
  • Information about network activities is timely, effective, and easily accessible by all network participants.
  • Network participants are equipped with and use the network’s communications tools effectively.

6. Adaptability & Resources

  • The network is responsive to changing internal developments (e.g., changes in membership, desires of participants).
  • The network is responsive to changes in the external environment.
  • Resources are adequate to sustain network activities.
  • Funders let the network lead; they do not seek to control the path of the network. 

7. Value & Impacts

  • The network is making progress in alignment with its purpose.
  • Network participants are benefitting personally and professionally from their engagement in the network.
  • Network participants’ organizations are benefitting from engaging in the network.
  • The network is creating value for constituents served by participants’ organizations.
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