Application of social network analysis to evaluate community power building

Type: Poster Presentation
Date: September 2023


Nubia Goodwin, Sofia Ladner, Carolyn Fisher, Amanda Robinson, Ben Goldberg, Ranjani Paradise (Sept 2023). “Application of social network analysis to evaluate community power building. Presented at the 2023 CHA Academic Poster Session (poster). Boston, MA.


Large grantmaking programs for building community power are designed to build up the local ecosystem of advocacy and base; however, it can be difficult to know how to evaluate that impact. Evaluators from the Institute for Community Health conducted a social network analysis (SNA) to analyze the impact of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Voices for Health Justice (VHJ) program. VHJ is a large grant program that supports 25 coalitions of 93 total community grassroots organizations, advocacy organizations, and policy organizations in 24 states. Using a longitudinal SNA, we are able to visually describe the overall relational network structure and to test hypotheses about the ways that the power of individual actors and the strength of relationships changed over time. We will go into detail about the design and method of the analysis and review the results of the following hypotheses: a) Grassroots organizers and/or BIPOC-led groups are leading the state teams, b) state advocacy eco-systems will grow stronger and stay stronger during and after the VHJ program, c) stronger networks will lead to more successful collaborations. We will finish with a discussion of how longitudinal SNAs can be used in other contexts.

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