Some questions to ask
- Are we clear about who needs to be engaged, and why?
- Have those who are directly experiencing the problem been participating?
- Have people who have responsibility or influence to change conditions been participating?
- Is it rewarding to participate (e.g., roles, rewards, respect)?
- Is it relatively easy to participate (e.g., time, effort, location)?
- Are people able to participate effectively?
- Have we created an environment that encourages full and continued participation?
Some recommended actions for promoting engagement
- __ Determine why you need or want other people to get involved.
- __ Identify those who need to be involved, including those most affected and those who can address the group’s goals.
- __ Reach out to those you most want to involve through trusted people, organizations, and networks.
- __ Communicate the need and benefits of taking action together.
- __ Make participation more rewarding and attractive.
- __ Make participation easier and of lower cost (i.e., time, effort, money).
- __ Improve peoples’ abilities to be involved (e.g., provide information, skill training, technical support).
- __ Create an environment that fosters full and continued participation.
- __ Plan for involving new generations of people and organizations.
Example of promoting engagement
The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department partnered with Douglas County Food System, LiveWell Douglas County, and the Sunrise Project to engage community residents in addressing health equity and food access. They hired local residents from the populations they were trying to reach to serve as community coordinators. The community coordinators went to where people are and hosted conversations to learn more about and engage residents in work to eliminate barriers to health.