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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 Deliberative Mapping Approach

This 4-page publication (2004) describes the "Deliberative Mapping" approach and how it could be used to foster more productive discussions between specialists and members of the public about complex policy issues where there is no obvious way forward. Though it only appears to have been tried once, Deliberative Mapping was a methodology that could be applied to a problem to judge how well different courses of action perform according to a set of economic, social, ethical and scientific criteria. The aim was to use the approach […] (continue)

Trainer’s Manual: Getting the Most from a Collaborative Process

This Manual from the Policy Consensus Institute contains the essential information for training leaders from agencies and organizations interested in learning more about how to use collaborative processes to address public issues. These materials are practical and problem-centered, designed to capitalize on people’s experience and to help them integrate new ideas with their existing knowledge. They are presented in eight modules, each module covering an aspect of the “best practices” for sponsoring, organizing, and conducting a collaborative governance process. Each module includes descriptions of key […] (continue)

A Practical Guide to Collaborative Governance

This 62-page step-by-step handbook from the Policy Consensus Institute walks readers through the stages of sponsoring,convening, organizing, and participating in a public policy collaborative process. Designed primarily for elected and appointed government officials and civic leaders, the guide also is useful for those who provide leaders with the staff assistance, facilitation services, and support they need to employ these approaches effectively. The Practical Guide was developed and written by Chris Carlson, founding director of PCI and a leading authority on consensus building in the public […] (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)

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