Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

Members of the Media

Whether members of your university communications office or representatives of print, audio, and video media, you may want to include representatives in your planning committee or as advisors. They can help with pre-forum publicity and post-forum reporting. Such advice and services are vital to the follow-up communications within a community.

Sponsors and Partners

Community sponsors and partners can help by offering personnel to serve on the planning committee, assisting in funding, and promoting the forum. As your forum planning and community capital engagement progresses, don’t be shy about asking for their formal involvement and be sure to acknowledge their participation. It adds credibility as well as resources to your project.

Sponsor List for Delaware Forum 2018

On-Site Face-to-Face vs. Online/Virtual Forums

There are advantages and disadvantages for each forum delivery method. For face-to-face forums, advantages include the opportunity for new and renewed relationship building, direct communication between participants that can strengthen commitments, ability of planning committee/facilitators to circulate among small group discussions to answer questions/guide groups, information generated is easily seen by participants, and actual resource sharing. Obvious disadvantages would include the expense for food, space and technology rental; travel mileage; and other costs of having a live in-person event. For virtual or online forums, advantages would include no food and space rental and no travel expenses. Additionally, it may be easy to bring in experts from outside the region and engage participants that would be hindered by travel. The downside is the need for reliable broadband availability and participant computer skills, more difficulty in engaging participants and monitoring the small group progress, and difficulty in building new or renewed relationships in an online setting.

“Tool 3: Considerations for In -Person or Virtual Forums ” in the Tools section provides some guidance for creating successful forums regardless of method of delivery.

Online Forum 2021

Delaware Forum 2018

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