Community Engagement



Community Engagement

Community Engagement is the process by which citizens are engaged to work and learn together on behalf of their communities to create and realize bold visions for the future. Community Engagement can involve informing citizens about your initiative, inviting their input, collaborating with them to generate solutions, and partnering with the community from the beginning to tackle community issues together. Community Engagement increases community cohesion and allows for the community to have ownership over the outcomes that will ultimately impact them. 

Tamarack is uniquely positioned to act as a bridge between theory and practice. We apply the theory to community contexts and teach and coach organizations, municipalities and groups to engage their communities meaningfully. We stress the importance of always involving context experts, to provide community ownership of solutions whenever possible, and connecting engagement practices with the outcomes we seek. We are leaders in applying community engagement to systems-thinking in order to work collaboratively for community-wide change.

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Foundations of Community Engagement

This online course is designed to help you learn at your own pace as you work to build your community engagement toolkit.



Learn More About the Online Course

Getting Started

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Community Engagement Planning Canvas

This planning canvas will help you work through the main considerations when planning to engage any segment of your community. Use this as a space to reflect, generate ideas, and refine your thinking. It can also serve as a holding place or reference file to summarize the key information for each of your engagement initiatives.

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Community Engagement: A Foundational Practice of Community Change

In this paper, Sylvia discusses what community engagement actually is and how it is the core idea for change.  She also explores why the nurturing of community ownership and leadership in any change effort is essential for its long-term sustainability and success. This paper will give you different perspectives to consider and questions that will spark ideas.

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Creating Principles for Engagement

The process of creating principles for engagement allows you to thoughtfully consider the unique needs of and relationship you want to have with your community. Once created, use these principles as a guide and checkpoint during the planning and implementation of your community engagement activities.

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Index of Community Engagement Techniques

This resource is a comprehensive list of community engagement techniques that can be selected based on the level of engagement you are conducting. Techniques include a description, helpful resources as well as factors to consider and are organized by level of engagement - inform, consult, involve, collaborate and empower

Featured Resources 

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Creating the Culture for Engagement

By Lisa Attygalle

Fear is one of the biggest barriers that prevents changemakers from applying authentic community engagement practices. In this paper, Lisa Attygalle explores the role of fear in the engagement process, and provides practical strategies for transforming and applying fear in community engagement.

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The Context Experts

By Lisa Attygalle

A paper that discusses how to increase the authenticity of community engagement and eradicate tokenistic community engagement through the meaningful involvement of context experts.

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Understanding Community-Led Approaches to Community Change

By Lisa Attygalle

There has been a marked increase in demand for ‘Community-Led’ approaches to change across the country.  We need to be intentional though about what ‘Community-Led’ means so that communities are not inadvertently acted-upon, and instead are empowered through leadership.

Meet the Director

Lisa is a Consulting Director of the Tamarack Institute’s Community Engagement practice area. She believes in the power of people coming together to shape their future, and loves engaging in ways that shake things up and involve creativity. 


Current Community Engagement Themes Being Explored:

  • Arts-Based Engagement 

    What are the benefits of arts-based engagement? What are the methodologies for arts-based engagement and how do you do it? How do you evaluate these more creative and participatory engagement methods?

  • Communicating Impact

    Topics to be explored include: 

    • Crisis communications 
    • Communicating results and sharing impact 
    • Trust-based philanthropy and reporting on impact 
    • How to make a 'living document'