Section 1 – Vital Conversation

What is a Vital Conversation?

A Vital Conversation is a facilitated conversation with members of your community. This conversation can be used as an entry point into the Vital Signs program, a starting point to explore an emerging issue in your community, or to move your community to action after the release of a Vital Signs report.

Why host a Vital Conversation?

  • A Vital Conversation can serve as a springboard to build new relationships and partnerships and is a great entry point in the Vital Signs program. It also serves as a wonderful opportunity to connect organizations and resources in your community.
    • Have a look at the conversations the Community Foundation of Whistler is hosting.  See Appendix A.
  • The evidence collected through Vital Signs and Vital Conversations can help you build a compelling case for support to attract new donors, unlock existing gifts and build relationships with community partners.
  • A Vital Conversation can be an ideal way to bolster your engagement strategy with stakeholders and to create buy-in within your community of your Vital Signs program.
  • If you are a community foundation with limited access to community-level data, a Vital Conversation can help you generate qualitative data and help paint the picture of issues and trends in your community.
  • If you are a community foundation looking to amplify your existing Vital Signs program, a Vital Conversation can build momentum and engage your community  towards action.
    • Have a look at the conversations hosted by Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta after the release of their report. See Appendix B.

When to host a Vital Conversation?

Vital Conversation can take place at any time during the year:

  • Prior to the creation of a Vital Signs report, to inform issue area and indicator selection
  • As a lead-up to the release of a Vital Signs report
  • To catalyze conversations following the release of a Vital Signs report
  • Between the publication of Vital Signs reports as a way to keep your Vital Signs community engagement active
  • In response to a community event, initiative or news story that affects your community
  • Proactively, regarding an issue that is or will be emerging in your community, e.g. an aging population

The purpose of your Vital Conversation and how it fits within your overall Vital Signs work and your strategic direction as a community foundation will help determine the format of the event.