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Community Impressions


See your community’s potential through the eyes of a visitor

Find Out How to Make a Good First Impression

Community Impressions helps communities learn about their strengths and weaknesses as seen through the eyes of a first-time visitor. Knowing about these strengths and weaknesses helps those who want to be proactive about the growth of their home communities and who want to make them more vibrant places to live and work.

Groups of community volunteers will make an anonymous visit to another community in North Dakota that is similar yet unfamiliar to their own. These teams will visit this community to provide feedback. The “first impressions” will be reported to the exchange community to help determine the community’s strengths, weaknesses, areas of opportunity and ideas for improvement.

The exchange community also gathers a group of volunteers who will make a return visit to the original community to provide the same service – an objective opinion of a community’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.

Get A Fresh Perspective

As a resident, you may not see your community objectively. Longtime residents often overlook the strengths and weaknesses of their surroundings. The Community Impressions program can give you a fresh perspective on what kind of first impressions people get when they enter your community.

Why Community Impressions?

Community Impressions provides an unbiased assessment of a community from volunteers who then receive the same unbiased assessment from the exchange community’s volunteers.

The information that communities provide and receive will:

  • Help identify positive attributes and weaknesses in the community (Ex: community services, housing, business, industry, customer service, public infrastructure, health care, social services, education)
  • Provide a basis for a community vision or plan
  • Identify issues needed for downtown revitalization
  • Identify tourism strengths and weaknesses
  • Provide a sense of how a potential entrepreneur or business investor might view your community
  • Provide information about services and infrastructure available to local businesses
  • Assess customer service in the community

What You Will Receive

The visiting team provides a variety of perspectives in written reports to your community. In exchange, members of your community provide the same service to their community. The visits are unannounced to ensure the visiting team gets a realistic impression of your community. Team members record their observations and give constructive feedback in their reports. The information can be used to help you develop a strategic community action plan to:

  • improve specific areas
  • improve, add or upgrade tourist attractions
  • improve the quality of local private and public services
  • increase investment in the local economy
  • revitalize your downtown
  • draw new business/industry to your region

Cost per community: $500. This will cover NDSU specialists’ travel to communities, training, materials, etc.

To learn more about Community Impressions, contact Jodi Bruns at 701-210-0445

NDSU Extension's Community Impressions program is based on the University of Wisconsin-Extension First Impressions program.