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Vicki authored “How to Do Community Engagement Right” for NPQ (Nonprofit Quarterly) this month.

In it she asks: What is community engagement and how do you really, actually center a community in your social impact conversations? She also offers plenty of tips for doing community engagement better.

Here’s an excerpt:

While many cities and nonprofits host sessions labeled “community engagement,” it’s worth questioning whether those hosting conversations invite the community in or talk with the same power holders and practitioners over and over. Inviting a much wider range of community members into an inclusive space to participate in these conversations can be a game changer.

Conversations should focus on providing supportive spaces to allow community members as much voice and opportunity as possible to share. Community conversations are ineffective if they are filled with speakers and not focused on the community’s voice. Too frequently, “community conversations” center on having a speaker, often someone with power, who has the stage, rather than tapping into the power of residents themselves.

NPQ envisions a world with an active democracy whose values are fully grounded in human rights, economic and social justice, racial equity, and thriving communities. The magazine that provides research-based articles and resources to educate the nonprofit sector.