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Man participating in dot voting activity at Farmer's Market Pop-Up Event for Hayward's Strategic Plan

We design with, not for communities. Our holistic approach to community engagement integrates stakeholder input throughout the process – from establishing relationships to navigating differences and reaching consensus.

We start by understanding how people would like to be engaged and what issues are important to them. These inputs guide us in creating highly customized engagement plans that lead to real community insights.

Because of our focus on meeting people where they are at, our community engagement programs:

  • Reach broad and representative audiences. We employ equity frameworks when developing messaging and select outreach channels to ensure the most vulnerable and historically underrepresented are not left out. We meet people where they are – both literally (via pop-up workshop and online engagements) and emotionally (by being present with whatever they are experiencing).
  • Build consensus among diverse groups. We establish strong relationships of trust with even the most skeptical community members and ensure their voices are heard. We have seen how individuals are more willing to embrace outcomes they helped to shape.
  • Are inclusive and accessible. We carefully select the appropriate facilitators, blend online and offline opportunities, cultivate community partnerships, and (whenever possible) compensate those with lived experience of the issues at hand to play a meaningful role in the design and rollout of our projects.

Our approach to community engagement leads to tangible outcomes, such as:

  • Alignment of internal stakeholders to ensure meaningful and useful outcomes
  • Concise and unified messaging that makes complex topics clear and accessible to diverse audiences
  • Creative, tailored, and culturally sensitive outreach campaigns that generate interest and participation
  • Thoughtful relationship-building that engenders buy-in, cultivates trust, and fosters lasting partnerships
  • Engaging and inclusive workshops and discussions that surface practical insights and move groups toward consensus
  • Accessible online feedback opportunities that reach broad audiences and generate useful data
  • Actionable and defensible insights that improve programs, policies, and services
  • Staff who are better equipped to lead future community engagement efforts

We’ve successfully applied our community engagement approach to local and regional planning, strategic planning, policy development, service design, evaluation, and participatory research efforts across disciplines.