Community outreach and engagement rules of thumb

One of NCI’s core values of community involvement is that anyone affected by a project has an important and unique contribution to make and, therefore, should be involved from the beginning.

One of NCI’s core values of community involvement is that anyone affected by a project has an important and unique contribution to make and therefore should be involved from the beginning.

Why? Because NIMBYs are often great assets to a project when they are engaged in an open process in which their input has an effect on the outcomes. Rather than viewing interest groups as obstacles, more engaged and informed people can be used as resources that when leveraged can lead to better projects.

Community outreach and engagement rules of thumb: Always start your outreach and engagement process with a stakeholder analysis. First, compose a list of viewpoints essential to a holistic process, and then go on to list individuals and organizations by viewpoint. Make sure to identify the following categories of people:

  • Decision makers.
  • People who will be affected by the outcome.
  • People who have power to promote the project.
  • People who have power to block the project.

Finally, decide on an outreach strategy tailored to meet the needs of each stakeholder. For example, some people are responsive to e-mail, some require a phone call, and some require face-to-face meetings, it depends on their role and relationship to the project.

People who employ these basic principles successfully save time and money and increase the quality of their project, because they recognize that each stakeholder has important information to contribute. Rework is minimized and potential project opposition is greatly reduced.


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