The National Civic League community assistance team facilitates strategic planning processes, community engagement trainings, and development of local engagement plans and materials – helping local governments and institutions engage and involve residents in ways that lead to tangible outcomes.
The National Civic League and its Center for Democracy Innovation facilitate:
Civic Infrastructure Scans. Local leaders need to know what pitfalls to avoid and what assets they can count on. The Scan is a qualitative research methodology that examines the strengths and gaps in the support structure for local democracy, including the recent history of engagement, skills and capacities present in the community, and the state of discussion online. Each scan consists of semi-structured qualitative interviews with key local leaders, media and social media analysis, and desk research.
Planning Processes to Improve the Infrastructure for Engagement and Collaboration. The National Civic League and Center for Democracy Innovation can provide on-the-ground assistance to help communities renovate their civic infrastructure, including upgrades to:
Engagement Scorecard. Public meetings can be productive and powerful – but in order to make them work for people, it helps to have ways of gauging participant satisfaction quickly and easily. The Scorecard is a quantitative, “user-centered” data-gathering tool hosted on the Alchemer platform. It gives people a fast, tag-based system to rate public engagement opportunities and the overall quality of local democracy and civic health. It offers various ways to visualize collated data. Crucially, the way the Scorecard works emphasizes the fact that many different leaders and organizations are responsible for sustaining democracy, and that collaboration among those institutions is critical.
Facilitation in Controversial or Crisis Situations. The Civic League can offer the expertise of veteran local leaders and practitioners for dealing with controversial or crisis situations, including recovery from natural disasters, managing police reform and public safety conversations, or processes for renaming city assets such as buildings, streets, plazas and parks.
National Civic League’s community assistance philosophy encourages communities to view civic engagement as more than presenting information, or distributing questionnaires (though both are important); instead, we promote listening to, and learning from, residents consistently and using those insights to shape how programs are administered, designed and executed. We set a different expectation for engagement.
“We tried to engage ‘them’ but no one showed up” is not enough; engagement of racial and ethnic minorities and others traditionally excluded from decision-making is not “going above and beyond,” it must become the new expectation – the baseline for legitimate engagement efforts. Click here to read more about Why Engagement Matters
Contact the League to talk about your local challenges and how engagement might help move the needle for your community.
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