Establishing Your Engagement Goals

This section introduces the five primary goals your engagement planning will want to consider: informing, consulting, involving, collaborating, and empowering (Bassler et al, 2008). Each of these goals provides you with an opportunity to assess what’s most important to your engagement efforts as well as the ability to develop the strategies and tools necessary to make these efforts successful. An essential guide to many of these tools can be found in 2010 Resource Guide to Public Engagement (NCDD).

At its core, ‘informing’ is the most elementary and simplest goal of an engagement process.

The second level of engagement entails stakeholder consultation – in essence providing some mechanism to gather input on the issue, problem, or process you are concerned about.

The third potential goal of your engagement efforts is to involve stakeholders, to the degree appropriate, in decision making.

At its core, collaboration refers to the engagement of stakeholders in order to create an environment conducive for solving complex issues with plausible solutions for which they take responsibility – and catalyzing the contributions and assets of stakeholders into action.

As identified in the IAP2 structure, empowerment is frequently seen as penultimate goal of an engagement effort. Ultimately empowerment refers to placing either the decision making authority or the responsibility for implementing a particular solution in the hands of stakeholders.