TOOL | Community Engagement Planning Canvas

This resource is also available in French. Click here to access the French version.


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. 

The community engagement planning canvas pulls together key engagement theory—including frameworks from Capire (The Engagement Triangle), IAP2 (Public Participation Spectrum), and Nurture Development (To-For-With-By)—and invites you to put it into practice!

 Community Engagement Planning Canvas-2


The planning canvas can be used individually or within a team when thinking about why and how to engage your communities.  

Step 1 – Always start with WHAT, WHO, and WHY boxes. It is important to understand your purpose for engagement and list your goals before considering methods.  

Step 2 – Then move on to the other boxes in any order. Always refer back to your Engagement Goals to ensure the methods you design will meet your objectives.  To generate ideas for methods of engagement, refer to page 3.

Step 3 – Use the back of the canvas to map out the phases of your engagement. Be sure to indicate when you will close the loop with community members to thank them, share back what you heard, and let them know what will happen next.  

Step 4 – Use the GUTCHECK prompts to ensure the engagement process you have designed is authentic and meaningful for all involved. 

Step 5 – Share the completed canvas with other partners and community members for their thoughts and feedback.  

View, download and/or print a blank Community Engagement Planning Canvas. 

See an example of a completed planning canvas for a Youth Engagement Strategy.



 If you are feeling stuck, or want to explore key areas in more detail, the following resources may be helpful: 

  • Capire Engagement Triangle – The Triangle is used in the early stages of engagement planning to help clarify goals and identify appropriate tools and techniques. 

  • Index of Community Engagement Techniques – A comprehensive list of community engagement techniques that can be selected based on the level of engagement you are conducting. 

  • IAP2 website – The International Association for Public Participation provides resources and training to advance the practice of public participation. 

  • Foundations of Community Engagement online course – Tamarack’s online course is designed to help you learn at your own pace as you work to build your community engagement toolkit. 

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