Inspired by the farmers’ almanac, this resource helps community-based organizations plan for the upcoming year of comprehensive engagement. TYTHEdesign designed this resource with the challenges faced by the public health community in mind. It presents best practices and ideas that respond to the constantly changing environment with COVID-19, and effective tools to make engagement decisions equitably and helps you advocate for the value of community engagement even during crisis.
Use this almanac to proactively prepare to facilitate conversations across different formats, from remote to physically distanced, while maximizing the health and safety of stakeholders.
This almanac is not oriented to be read from start to finish. Instead, consider it a resource you can continue to refer back to as your work and the ways you reach stakeholders evolve. As community, context, programs and services are rapidly shifting, your community engagement practices must too adapt. We recommend utilizing sections most pertinent to your engagement and team’s needs.
This almanac is intended for community engagement conducted today as we navigate varying degrees of “reopening”, and in the years to come as we prepare for the introduction and adoption of a vaccine. The tools, assessments, catalog and mini-guides allow for you to begin to adapt your community engagement strategies for 2021 and beyond.
The guide includes the following sections:
PART I – INTRODUCTION
Provides information on how to use the Almanac, advocacy points for why community engagement still matters, and a detailed definition of the spectrum of engagement.
PART II – TOOLS AND ASSESSMENTS
Provides the process to plan community engagement with targeted stakeholders. This section supports your approach, including choosing the right format for your stakeholders, uncovering your blind spots and leveraging your resources for mutually beneficial engagement, all while ensuring your engagement is equitable, inclusive and accessible. The tools can be downloaded as editable PDFs or Google documents.
PART III – CATALOG OF IDEAS
Presents a set of creative and effective ideas for leading engagements across alternative platforms both in-person and remote. These ideas feature methods for conducting engagement across the full spectrum of participation- from outreach to shared leadership. This section inspires with ideas for different ways to set up productive, creative, and safe engagements.
PART IV – MINI-GUIDES
Presents best practices, resources, and checklists to support all aspects of the community engagement experiences, as well as methods for promoting safety both in-person and remotely (virtually, digitally, or phone/SMS). The mini-guides are designed to be used independently as a way to build capacity, build alignment or address a specific need depending on the type of engagement.
Although the Alamanac is chock-full of resources, it should not be considered an exhaustive list of all the options for facilitating community engagement during the crisis. Instead, our guide is more focused on the comprehensive ecosystem of planning and facilitating engagement, leading first with your intentions and approach, rather than with which digital tool works best. There are many other great toolkits and resources available that provide more platform options that can also inspire, and can be used in tandem with tools included in this almanac. Here are some of our favorites:
Community Engagement Framework by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2017) — A helpful guide to the spectrum of community engagement, from Outreach to Shared Leadership.
Community Engagement in Times of Covid-19 by Hester Street (2020) — A graphic guide containing a range of methods to conduct inclusive and equitable community engagement in challenging circumstances.
Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement Guide by Seattle Office for Civil Rights (2012) — A resource and toolkit to support implementing more inclusive engagement.
Principles of Community Engagement by CDC — This second edition is updated to meet the growing body of literature related to the field.
Virtual Toolkit for Public Engagement by Karp Strategies & Arch Street Communications (2020) – An abundant table of resources and tools to get the communication of community engagement back on track.
As with traditional Almanacs, we intend this to be a living document, updated with information, resources, and tools relevant to our evolving context. You can share your own ideas, resources, or solutions to help build this Almanac further by submitting information through the following form.