Community engagement is the process of bringing together individuals who live within a given area, and who share special interests or similar situations, for a common cause. Community engagement programs are a necessity in some instances where a company needs to undertake a program that touches on the lives of the community. The success of a community engagement program is dependent on how well planned and executed it is. When planning for a community engagement process, it is important to focus on five major areas.
The first important step to take is to ensure that clear goals and objectives are defined. These goals stipulate what the community engagement program intends to achieve at the end of the process. The goals may range from something like educating members of the public to win their hearts and support for a given cause.
Transparency in the Process
The entire community engagement process should be tailored to ensure transparency. Transparently doing everything is a great way to win the hearts of the locals while eradicating any instances of misunderstanding that may bring about strife. Transparency in the process can be enhanced by bringing on board representatives of the community in any closed-door meetings where decisions are made.
Every successful community engagement program in the area should be well attended by members of the targeted community. The only way to win the hearts of the locals and ensure they participate in such meetings is ensuring that the sessions are well-publicized. Using posters, social media, and even roadshows ensures that the word gets out there to as many community members as possible.
Any decision arrived at during the community engagement process should be mutually upheld and supported by all members. For example, a company that intends to build a factory within an area may choose to engage in a community engagement program. During these engagements and consultations, the company should demonstrate the benefits of having such a factory in the locality. Outlining the benefits and showing that they outweigh the concerns gives the locals an incentive to offer their unanimous support.