Help is on the Way: A Powerful Approach to Technical Assistance

Communities Get the Results They Want From Peer Matches

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

January 18, 2006

Summary

Bringing together peers from different communities to solve shared problems, as Casey did in its Making Connections initiative, is an effective technical assistance strategy for result-driven community change efforts.  Although the “peer-match” process developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy is time and resource intensive, it can be more cost effective than more traditional forms of technical assistance. This report describes in detail what peer matches are and how to use them effectively. 

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Key Takeaway

Communities learn best from each other

The peer match process is rigorous, intensive and can be expensive. But participating communities may save money and get better results quicker compared to technical assistance that relies on bringing in outside experts. The reason: Peer matches can surface concrete strategies quickly by drawing on the hands-on expertise of folks who have experience solving a problem a community has requested help on. 

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