Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever)

Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever)

In Spring 2016, Melody Barnes and Paul Schmitz published this long-form article which is full of illustrative anecdotes and insights gained from, “a research project that focused on how leaders can and should pursue data-driven social change efforts. For the project, we interviewed roughly 30 city administrators, philanthropists, nonprofit leaders, researchers, and community builders from across the United States.”

In it the authors identify, describe, and share examples of six complementary factors of engagement for advancing data-driven solutions:

  1. Organizing for ownership
  2. Allowing for complexity
  3. Working with local institutions
  4. Applying an equity lens
  5. Building Momentum
  6. Managing constituencies through change

This is a particularly interesting read alongside Tom Wolff’s 10 Places Where Collective Impact Gets it Wrong (both Barnes and Schmitz have roles related to the collective impact movement). This article offers a strong case for why community engagement is necessary, and why top-down efforts that ignore the community are doomed to fail.

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