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Working Effectively with Public Engagement Consultants: Tips for Local Officials (ILG Report)

In planning and implementing public engagement activities, local officials often contract with external consultants for services. These may be consultants who design and lead activities devoted solely to public engagement, such as a series of community conversations contributing to the development of a local agency budget. Or they may be consultants who carry out tasks well beyond public engagement alone, such as assisting in the overall development of a general plan update. This tip sheet from the Institute For Local Government offers several recommendations to […] (continue)

Testing the Waters: California’s Local Officials Experiment with New Ways to Engage the Public (ILG Report)

This report—the first of two—presents the perspective of California’s public officials. It concludes with practical recommendations emerging from this study and its companion study on civic leaders’ perspectives for how to encourage productive relationships between local officials and the public and expand opportunities for broad sections of the public to meaningfully participate in local decision making. from the guide's Description... What is the state of public participation in local government decision making in California? What opportunities do Californians have to engage with public issues? Where, […] (continue)

Legal Issues Associated With Social Media (ILG Report)

What legal issues do public agencies face relating to their use of social media?  This paper chronicles a number of them. It also offers “dos and don’ts” advice for reaping the benefits of social media while minimizing the pitfalls.  A version of this paper was delivered to the May 2010 City Attorneys Spring Conference. from the guide's Introduction.. Social media has transformed communication through Internet technologies that allow users to communicate directly with each other. A key consequence of this is that traditional institutions (for […] (continue)

Happiness Alliance and the Gross National Happiness Index

The Happiness Alliance, home of The Happiness Initiative and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index, is a deeply grassroots organization.  Their mission is to improve the well-being of society by reducing emphasis on economic growth and focusing on the domains that lead to life satisfaction, resilience and sustainability. Their purpose is to provide tools resources and knowledge to foster grassroots activism for a new economic paradigm. The Happiness Alliance is a volunteer driven organization. The Happiness Initiative Gain the knowledge and resources to conduct a happiness initiative in […] (continue)

Workshop Findings – Bringing Citizen Voices to the Table: Infrastructure Needs in a Democracy

This report describes the findings of the May 22, 2014 workshop "Bringing Citizen Voices to the Table: Infrastructure Needs in a Democracy," hosted by Simon Fraser University's Centre for Dialogue in partnership with SFU Public Square. The featured speaker was Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, founder of AmericaSpeaks, and one of the foremost citizen engagement practitioners in North America. The report summarizes participant evaluations of the citizen engagement infrastructure in British Columbia, Canada, as well as participants’ […] (continue)

The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life

Non-partisan, interdisciplinary, and written for the educated lay reader, "The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life," was released by Paradigm Publishers in 2014. Written by scholars Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Elizabeth A. Bennett, Alissa Cordner, Peter Taylor Klein, and Stephanie Savell, this book is an excellent way to further a conversation about what it means to be a U.S. citizen, a skeptic, an activist, and a dreamer of a better tomorrow. The Civic Imagination is an ethnographic study of seven civic organizations in Providence, […] (continue)

Six Tools for More Effective Nonprofit Board Meetings

In this paper, Dr. Rick Lent of Brownfield & Lent provides directions for six tools that he finds particularly useful in improving the effectiveness of board meetings in nonprofit organizations. All meetings have structures that influence which participants speak, how they sit, how time is managed, how thoughts are shared, and how decisions are made. People act as they do in a given structure because that’s what makes sense to them to do—without even thinking about it. Most structures go unnoticed even as they influence the way […] (continue)

Civic Dialogues on Sustainability: Business Briefing and Best Practices Guide

Businesses have traditionally played little role in civic dialogue, but their involvement can help advance issues. The Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) has recently published two reports, written by Dr. Thomas Webler, that identify the potential for business involvement in civic dialogue. The reports are aimed at a business audience, and can serve to introduce businesses to civic dialogue concepts. We hope that they will also be useful for anyone seeking to understand business perspectives or the value of engaging businesses in dialogues.  The reports […] (continue)

Meeting for Results Tool Kit: Make Your Meetings Work

The Meeting for Results Tool Kit by Dr. Rick Lent of Brownfield & Lent provides a different approach to running effective meetings because it: Helps you structure a naturally effective meeting instead of relying on rules or norms for guiding behavior. Provides 12 clear choices and 31 supporting tools for planning, conducting and achieving results from meetings. Serves as a job aid to plan and run meetings. As an e-book you can have it with you whenever you need it. The Tool Kit is designed to help […] (continue)

Codigital

Codigital’s cloud-based tool is used by facilitators and conference organizers to engage communities and stakeholders in a simple, participant-driven process that generates ideas, insight, consensus and solutions to the issue under discussion. The tool is used in live face-to-face situations and also in 1-2 week online projects such as gaining input from attendees when planning a conference. Codigital’s tool incorporates features that (i) enable people to cross-fertilize their ideas so as to benefit from the different perspectives of the group’s members, (ii) avoid individual bias, […] (continue)

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