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Seeking Community Engagement. Nicole Merrifield, Grande Yellowhead Regional Division No.35. Case Study. Engaging a Community: Seeking Effective Means of Providing Information of Broad Public Interest to External Stakeholders A Case Study of the Hinton Drug Action Committee.

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Seeking community engagement

Seeking Community Engagement

Nicole Merrifield, Grande Yellowhead Regional Division No.35

Case study
Case Study

Engaging a Community:

Seeking Effective Means of Providing Information of Broad Public Interest to External Stakeholders

A Case Study of the

Hinton Drug Action Committee

quite a mouthful!

Theoretical context
Theoretical Context

Diffusion of Innovations, Everett Rogers

  • Diffusion theory was developed by studying a number of different information campaigns involving a wide variety of messages, audiences and social contexts, and extracting common elements

  • The theory suggests that the challenge of public education and awareness campaigns is to reduce the time between the discovery or development of an idea and the adoption of that new information by a community

  • Rogers dubs this process the diffusion of innovations: “diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system”

Creating knowledge
Creating Knowledge

  • Information “consists of data organized into meaningful relationships and structures. It is data that has been given meaning through relational connection” (Wright)

  • Knowledge is information that has been made meaningful to individuals through a process of reflection and relation to their world view and experiences

  • Engagement refers to the process and result of the creation of knowledge, where that knowledge would lead someone to act


Examples from School Divisions

  • Soliciting input

  • Completing a survey

  • Lobbying the government

  • Encouraging registration or self identification


Requires Stakeholders to:

  • Be aware of a particular program or issue

  • Understand the potential or actual impact

  • Recognize their role, or potential for involvement

  • Choose to act

Hdac s challenges
HDAC’s Challenges

  • Desired to realize change quickly

  • Limited financial resources

  • Limited means of providing information

sound familiar?

Hdac s challenges1
HDAC’s Challenges

  • The creation of knowledge is a personal, individual exercise and experience, and therefore can be encouraged, but not compelled

  • Efficiency requires the message to be shared with many individuals at the same time so that a group of individuals accept the information, create knowledge, and become engaged

Lessons from hdac
Lessons from HDAC

  • Communications should recognize that a community is a group of individuals bound by a shared experience, and therefore should target individuals within that group

  • No single template can be developed to guarantee community engagement

Key principles
Key Principles

Know the target stakeholders

  • Identify

  • Respect

  • Focus Message

Key principles1
Key Principles

Create and maintain a positive experience

  • Involvement

  • Encourage personal commitment

  • Develop trust and personal relationships

Key principles2
Key Principles

Develop Clear Goals and Objectives

  • Short and long term

  • Broad and tangible

  • Subjective and objective

Provide individuals with the sense

that their involvement is worthwhile

Key principles3
Key Principles

Operate with Professionalism

  • Organization and planning

  • Leadership

  • Visual Identifiers


  • Increases efficiency

  • Increases support

  • Encourages participants to focus on the issue

Key principles4
Key Principles

Strive for Consistency and Frequency

  • Range of opportunities to become informed and engaged

  • Range of means of becoming involved

Effective communication
Effective Communication

The concepts employed by effective individual communicators must be applied to community awareness campaigns:

  • Design message to suit the receiver

  • Encourage and prepare for feedback

  • Provide opportunities to personalize the information to create knowledge

  • Provide opportunities to use knowledge to complete engagement process

Seeking community engagement

Communications must be

carefully planned to be effective

Meth Hurts Website:

Rogers, Everett. (1983) Diffusion of Innovations. 4th ed. New York: Free Press.

Wright, Kirby. (2005) “Exploring the Complexities of Knowledge”. Custom Courseware: Master of Arts in Communications and Technology, Extension 507 Teaching Notes. University of Alberta Students’ Union.