Options for Engaging Citizens
Visioning: What is it? Why do it?
It is the collective recognition that the future is to be achieved and managed by people thinking and working together because they care about their community. No community can afford to just react to change and events. Leaders need tools to "take charge" of the future.
Models for Neighborhood Associations
The demographics of our cities are changing. Todays neighborhoods are more likely to be comprised of people of different ages, lifestyles and ethnic backgrounds who may not share many of the traditionally common experiences of work, play, education, worship or socialization. These differences can be seen as barriers to building community or they can be seen as assetsopportunities to learn from each other as we develop a shared future for our community.
An effective way to both create citizen awareness and to stimulate a discussion about the usefulness of neighborhood organizations is through a workshop. The sessions can expose participants to the experiences of existing neighborhood associations in Minnesota and around the country and then engage attendees in small group discussions. Neighborhood associations can provide many opportunities for people to work together at the grassroots level on initiatives that benefit their own neighborhood and strengthen the entire community.
Citizens who participate in the Workshop can:
Facilitating Community Forums, Town Meetings & Regional Summits
As communities and agencies tackle significant and often contentious public policy issues, there is an increased need for constructive citizen discussions. Sometimes, this involves an educational forum that presents the latest thinking on a subject for the benefit of all the stakeholders. In other cases, it involves viewing draft plans and getting input on various scenarios. Sometimes it is a work session that leads to decisions. Or it can be a combination of all three.
Central to the success of any of these events is a neutral facilitator versed in creating a program format and process that achieves the objectives with sensitivity and professionalism. Besides these attributes, GTS consultants possess an in-depth understanding of the public sector context and resources.
Using Audience Participation Technology
This tool offers a way to make meetings more engaging and more productive. Our consultants can help you create a plan from setting goals to editing questions to integrating data effectively. With guidance from an experienced facilitator, groups using electronic keypads can obtain valuable feedback for use at the moment and for the future.
If you would like more information on these and other approaches to engaging citizens, please contact:
Mary Sabatke, GTS
Program Planner and Facilitator
651-222-7409 x208, firstname.lastname@example.org
Helene Johnson, Executive Director
651-222-7409 x206, email@example.com