Engagement Strategies

What is authentic engagement?

W hat is authentic engagement? And why does the engagement require authenticity?Authentic Engagement

At this very moment, engagement strategies are one of the most sought after, yet underfunded aspects of community development plan or campaign. Why is this? The business world has long recognized the potential for a powerful engagement strategy to tremendously increase sales, brand loyalty, and name recognition. We call this marketing. But what about agencies or institutions appealing to build relationships with a wider client base? How can they build these relationships? Through authentic engagement.

So what is authentic engagement?

The Public Engagement Principles (PEP) Project was launched in February 2009 to clarify what is considered to be the fundamental components of quality public engagement. This was done in order to support President Obama’s January 21, 2009 memorandum to transparency and open government.  The following principles were developed collaboratively by members and leaders of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD), the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2 ), the Co-Intelligence Institute, and many others.

In summary, 7 principles were created that reflect the common beliefs/understandings of those working in the fields of public engagement and collaboration.  In practice, people apply these and additional principles in many different ways:

1. Careful Planning and Preparation
Through adequate and inclusive planning, ensure that the design, organization, and convening of the process serve both a clearly defined purpose and the needs of the participants.

2. Inclusion and Demographic Diversity
Equitably incorporate diverse people, voices, ideas, and information to lay the groundwork for quality outcomes and democratic legitimacy.

3. Collaboration and Shared Purpose
Support and encourage participants, government and community institutions, and others to work together to advance the common good.

4. Openness and Learning
Help all involved listen to each other, explore new ideas unconstrained by predetermined outcomes, learn and apply information in ways that generate new options, and rigorously evaluate public engagement activities for effectiveness.

5. Transparency and Trust
Be clear and open about the process, and provide a public record of the organizers, sponsors, outcomes, and range of views and ideas expressed.

6. Impact and Action
Ensure each participatory effort has real potential to make a difference, and that participants are aware of that potential.

7. Sustained Engagement and Participatory Culture
Promote a culture of participation with programs and institutions that support ongoing quality public (organizational) engagement.
Download the full 12-page Core Principles for Public Engagement document (PDF), which includes details about how the principles were developed, a partial list of endorsing organizations, and expanded text outlining what each of the 7 principles looks like and what practitioners and leaders should avoid.
 Great stuff, but why does public engagement require authenticity? Engagement Strategies

A genuine relationship, built from trust and ownership. Without ownership, there is no development.
Most marketing campaigns fail in sustainability by not understanding the importance of building genuine relationships, built on more than simple brand loyalty, consumption, and name recognition. Authentic engagement creates a true co-led conversation in which one side isn’t asking all of the questions and the other isn’t providing all of the answers. Through this method, ownership of the development is mutual, thus the commitment and sustainability is much greater. In fact, intimacy is then achieved, something rarely given by either party, if ever. Though this intimacy, trust is built and then the passion to accomplish much is set free with unlimited potential.

Let Aviators guide your organization into building genuine and long lasting relationships with a wider clientele base.

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