Last month, we attended a training by the Tamarack Institute on “Community Engagement”– i.e., finding ways of designing processes for your community to be involved in, give feedback, or otherwise engage in your non-profit initiative. The room was packed with people who have been designing and experimenting with ways to substantially involve communities in decision making, and we learnt a lot!
One of the tools that was shared with us was this comprehensive toolkit on the standards and guidelines for community engagement, as well as literally dozens of formats and strategies that your organization could use. Before you start, though, remember: community engagement is only worth it if you actually want people’s input and intend to use it. If it’s for window dressing, or you are only looking for confirmation that you are doing the right thing, not only is it a waste of resources, but people will be able to tell and will lose trust in your organization.