Community Engagement for Social Inclusion

Toolkit

Step 3. Agree

Agree a common goal/outcome and strategy with the group

To maintain engagement and interest throughout the process, the outcomes of the project must be relevant to the group(s) involved. Therefore, it is important to agree a clear common goal together at the outset. This step enables the group(s) to visualise the final outcome of any given process, project, action and engagement techniques you will use and will help to identify the steps needed to achieve the common goal. The steps or outcomes path may require engaging with a wider group of stakeholders, for their skills, contacts or influence so consider engaging with them at this stage to ensure ‘buy-in’.

There are a number of methods (section 3) which can be used to agree on feasible and shared outcomes, such as the Open Space Technology. Using the Theory of Change and the outcomes framework will help to understand the conditions essential to achieve the goal and provide a useful basis for identifying which activities or interventions will be required.

Social Impact Community-Capacity building programme

Good practice in Portugal (locations involving the stakeholders of more than 40 different organisations’ projects)

Since 2013, the capacity building programme “Social Impact Community” has engaged and built the capacity of more than 40 small organisations working in the social sector. Not focusing only in the capital, Lisbon, allows annually for staff from small towns to participate, test and learn with one of their ongoing projects or actions. The Theory of Change method is used in the second module - right after the initial stakeholders mapping - to engage those groups of stakeholders and agree on the common goal of the project/action being tested / prototyped during the 5 months programme. This has meant that, in some cases, the whole project has been turned upside down. Because Theory of Change is a very versatile tool, it can both turn the most usual tree of problems or logframe upside down, and analyse the ‘road to change’ of that given group or community. Thus, taking a step back, the group can focus on “what are the most important goals, outcomes, changes they want to achieve?”and then make the backwards map of the road to get there. A roadmap of the intermediate outcomes or conditions required to “make it happen”. The majority of organisations working with the Theory of Change got useful insights from this different way of looking at their work, taking their head from the daily implementation of the activities and looking at the big picture, allowing for shared discussion and agreement. Social Impact Community programme teaches effective methods for assessing and communicating the organisation’s results and outcomes, giving the staff tools for managing and monitoring impact.

Target

Small local organisations and their stakeholders working in the social area (staff, beneficiaries, management, funders)

Link

http://impactosocial.pt