Measuring the success of a community engagement process is tricky as it is dependent on a range of factors. In planning your community engagement process, it is imperative to undertake a comprehensive business case review aligned to your identified stakeholder groups. With the emergence of organisations placing community building and community engagement strategies at the heart of decision making (rightly so!), there are two basic principles to consider:
- Promote via diverse communication channels to ensure you reach all stakeholders and that no one can ever say ‘I never knew about this project’ post-consultation
- Enable strategic engagement methods so there is no barrier to stakeholders in participating in discussions and providing their feedback
Thought robust stakeholder identification and identifying the appropriate communication channels and engagement methods to apply to the different groups, as there is not a one-size-fits-all ever(!), we have tried to bring forth a few actionable strategies that may encourage your stakeholders and community to engage proactively.
Tips to drive engagement with your community
1. Enable community members a place to easily contribute their ideas and feedback
The key elements are to:
- present your consultation in a manner that a representative group of your community will want to find out more
- provide them a secure place where they can collaborate and/or provide feedback
By nature, people love to share their ideas, receive support from other community members and have opportunities to collaborate. Engagement Hub enables these conversations in a controlled environment whilst building relationships and trust with your stakeholders.
2. Focus on community moderation
Okay… so, we told you that it’s important to allow your community to really express themselves, but this shouldn’t be done at the cost of hurting someone else’s sentiments. In other words, you need to keep a check over the conversation in a way that it prevents trolling, bullying and offensive or inappropriate behaviour.
3. Divide your community as per their interest
Like we mentioned earlier that when it comes to community engagement strategies there’s no one-size-fits-all and this is especially true when talking about the stakeholder community where every stakeholder belongs to a different interest and influence group.
Grouping together stakeholders into segments whether it be interest, group type, influence etc enables you to target projects and communications based on their segments, reducing consultation fatigue and admin burden. Moreover, segmenting the audience is one of the best ways of making community engagement successful.
4. Be responsive
Project managers have a responsibility to be responsive. For a better engagement, it’s necessary that there should be someone who responds to individual community members in a timely manner which results in community building, capacity, trust and a sense of being listened to.
5. Design it to respond to different stakeholder learning types
A simple but easily adaptive consideration is your stakeholders’ learning styles. Sounds odd – but no! How do you like to learn about something? Text, video etc? We are all different – so design your engagement to reflect the seven learning styles and keep all people informed and engaged!
- Visual (Spatial)
- Aural (Auditory-Musical)
- Verbal (Linguistic)
- Physical (Kinesthetic)
- Logical (Mathematical)
- Social (Interpersonal)
- Solitary (Intrapersonal)
So, these are our top tips to drive engagement with your community. Engagement Hub supports many organisations to increase their levels of community and stakeholder engagement through the effective use of our software. To find out more this tool and the software features it offers, click here – https://engagementhub.com.au/