Sarah Craft, one of my talented colleagues (I am fortunate to have many), recently authored a best practices guide for effective Citizen Engagement. Sarah came to the League from the acclaimed Detroit Soup. She works with community and civic leaders across Michigan to foster positive engagement. The guide is worth a look. From the introduction:
“Civic engagement is challenging, but without it, American communities wouldn’t be what they are today. The country’s history and representative democracy depends on people to identify, address, and resolve community issues. Why should we be concerned about engaging a variety of people in civic problem-solving?
- Engagement is good for the community.
- Engagement aids organizational capacity.
- Engagement eases implementation.
- Engagement can be the best part of your day.
The best practices list below was derived from the experiences of planners, directors, and community organizers across Michigan who want to encourage all communities to do more and better engagement.
In our Civic Engagement Best Practices guidebook, each recommendation is paired with a specific, but brief, Michigan case study to serve as an example and networking opportunity. All case studies have a direct point of contact and these experts have agreed to enhance a community of practice around engagement. Readers and practitioners are encouraged to learn more, reach out, and share stories so others can implement similar strategies in their own communities.”
There are great examples to check out from Grand Rapids, Salt Lake City and elsewhere as well as links to research from the National League of Cities and the Knight Foundation. Really good stuff.