Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Characteristics of effective Mpowerment Coordinators

Coordinators need to possess strong leadership skills, and the most successful Coordinators are those who are self-starters, extremely responsible, and well organized

These traits are critical because the Coordinators oversee a broad range of activities including M-groups, Social Outreach Events, outreach at bars and community events, publicity, administration, and ongoing evaluation. 

Coordinators must possess
a high degree of maturity,
 regardless of their chronological age,
 and be self-starters, 
extremely responsible, and well organized. 

RELATED:  What is the Mpowerment Project? Download Module 1: Mpowerment Overview.

Coordinators also must possess a high degree of maturity, regardless of their chronological age. They must be willing to be reflective about the Project’s functioning and their roles within the intervention. Hiring Coordinators who have a strong personal commitment to HIV/AIDS prevention or to gay community issues, as demonstrated through their past work and/ or volunteer history is also extremely important. If Coordinators don’t have a strong personal commitment to the goals of the Project, it will be extremely difficult to motivate them to conduct Informal Outreach through their own friendship networks or to put in the effort required to make the Project successful. Furthermore, Coordinators who require a step-by-step cookbook approach to guide them in performing their jobs are unlikely to be able to perform these complicated roles effectively.

Coordinators should be outgoing,
 comfortable talking to strangers, social, welcoming,
 passionate about HIV prevention
 and community-building,
 willing to share decision-making power,
 and enthusiastic about conducting
 all of the Core Elements. 

An important part of being a Coordinator involves motivating other people to plan and carry out activities, and sharing ownership of the Project with them. Coordinators who share responsibilities for decision-making with Project participants—instead of just telling them what to do or assigning volunteer tasks—are more successful. The reality is that Coordinators can’t do all the work themselves, and they will accomplish a great deal more if they work collaboratively with others using a nonhierarchical organizational approach. Also, by sharing the authority for developing plans and making decisions with other Project participants, Coordinators are advancing an important goal of the Project, namely empowering the young gay and bisexual men’s community.

There are many ways that effective Coordinators accomplish this. One key strategy is to encourage Core Group members to reflect on their roles and decisions, including the implications of their decisions. It is not the role of the Coordinators to tell the group exactly what to do or to overtly point out mistakes. This approach fosters a sense of empowerment among Project volunteers and builds strong decision-making skills, while at the same time it keeps the group on track. 

RELATED3 easy to remember motivators for joining your MP Core Group
RELATED8 clever ways to support and supervise volunteers (and avoid burnout).
RELATED: 4 easy steps for involving volunteers.

the coordinators of The Q Austin, Mpowerment TX

Coordinator best practices:
the Mu Crew, Mpowerment Dayton OH

Read more about coordinators, including supervision best practices, in Module 4: Coordinators. Module 4 is a free download when you register at

Module 4: Coordinators:  Objectives

To familiarize you with the role of Project Coordinators, including: 
  1. their responsibilities;
  2. how to configure their roles when there is more than one Coordinator; 
  3. characteristics of effective Coordinators;
  4. use of behavioral objectives to supervise Coordinators, including sample behavioral objectives; 
  5. their training needs; and
  6. Coordinator evaluation duties.