Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums


ATTRIBUTION
2

TABLE OF CONTENTS
3

MEET THE AUTHORS
5

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
8

FOREWORD
9

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
10

Origins of Our Story
11

Origins of 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2021 Forums
11

ABOUT THIS GUIDE
13

Who is This Guide For?
13

How Should I Use the Guide?
17

Why Use a Forum?
17

Our Story – Why We Used Forums to Address Farm and Farm Family Issues
20

ABOUT FORUMS
21

What is a Forum?
21

Online Forums
22

Our Story – About Our Forums
23

What are the Principles of Successful Forums?
24

Principle One: Use Adult Learning Recommended Practices
24

Principle Two: Facts guide thinking, decision-making, and action
24

Principle Three: Relationships Between and Among People and Our Built and Natural Environments Matter
25

Principle Four: Solutions are Multi-level, Innovative, and Build on Existing Assets
27

Principle Five: How Issues are Named and Framed Helps to Engage Community Participation
27

HOW TO NAME AND FRAME ISSUES
28

What is “Naming and Framing” and Issue?
28

Why is “Naming and Framing” So Important?
29

Our Story – Naming and Framing Issues for Our Forums
30

HOW TO ENGAGE MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES
31

Identifying People
31

Recruiting Representatives of the Community
31

HOW TO PLAN A FORUM FOR SUSTAINED ENGAGEMENT
32

How to Plan a Forum
32

Planning Timeline
34

Agenda of a Forum Using the Principles of a Successful Forum
36

Engaging Others
39

Planning Team or Committee
39

Facilitators
39

Key Informants
40

Forum Participants—Community Involvement
42

Members of the Media
43

Sponsors and Partners
43

On-Site Face-to-Face vs. Online/Virtual Forums
43

Our Story —Engaging Others and Creating Our Forum
44

THE FORUM AGENDA – THE FLOW AND ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES
45

1.Ground the Content of the Issue with Facts and Context
45

Our Story — Just the Facts and Context, Please
46

2.Case Studies Connect Participants to Each Other and the Personal Side of Issues
47

Using Case Studies During the Forum
49

Our Story — Stories Connect People
50

3.Moving from Ideas to Actions - Strategic Doing™
51

Using Strategic Doing™ During the Forum
53

Pre-Forum Activities
53

During the Forum—Strategic Doing™ Activity Steps
54

Our Story — Strategic Doing in Practice
54

4.Resource Table
55

5.Post-Forum Activities
55

Our Story — Post-Forum Tales
56

WHY AND HOW SHOULD WE EVALUATE THE FORUM?
58

Why Collect Evaluation Data?
58

How and When Should We Collect Data?
59

Before the Forum
59

At the End of the Forum or as Part of the Strategic Doing™ Process
60

Post-Forum
60

Three months following the forum, administer a survey to gather insight into the actions taken by participants; you can ask for personal actions as well as if anything has changed within their organization/community because of their attendance. Additi...
60

Harwood (2021) notes that community engagement leads to changes, intended and unintended, that ripple across communities. The change cascades and creates chain reactions and produces unforeseen outcomes. Capturing those outcomes can encourage people t...
60

Using the data you collect with your evaluation strategy will help to inform the big and little changes that occur. In some cases, your forum will be the beginning of a ripple; you may not ever know how far it goes out in the community, but on-going d...
60

Our Story — How Knowledge, Confidence and Conditions Began to Change
60

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE FORUM?
64

Communication
64

Action and Accountability
64

Publicize Outcomes
64

Our Story: Keep on Keeping On
64

Communications
65

Strategic Doing™ Groups
65

Reporting
65

Opportunities
65

Lessons Learned
66

Pre- Forum Considerations
66

Post-Forum Considerations:
66

CONCLUSION
67

Our Story — The End or a New Beginning
68

RESOURCES FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
69

1.Naming and Framing Issues
69

2.Resources to Engage with Communities
69

3.Community Issue Forum Examples
72

4.Resources for Farm and Farm Family Resilience
72

TOOLS TO USE IN PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTING A FORUM
74

Tool 1: Situation Analysis and Naming and Framing Worksheet
75

Tool 2: Engaging Community—Identifying Community Capitals Worksheet
76

Tool 3: Considerations for In-Person or Online/Virtual Forums
77

In-person Forums
77

Online Forums
78

Tool 4: Forum Budget Planning Template
80

Tool 5: A Planning Timeline and Checklist
81

Tool 6: Suggested Progression & Agenda Items for Planning Committee Meetings
84

Tool 7: Preparing for the Forum Day Checklist
85

Seating arrangements
85

Note-taking supplies
85

IT/presentation set-up
85

Participant packets
85

Wayfinding signage
85

Sign-in/Registration Table
85

Facilitator Preparation
85

Resource Table
86

Other
86

APPENDICES
87

Appendix 1: Stakeholder Logic Model for Linking Farm Vitality and Health
88

Appendix 2: Invitation to Forum Attendees from the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Associate Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension, 2018/2019
89

Appendix 3: Email Invitation to Forum Participants from Planning Committee 2018/2019
91

Appendix 4: Letter of Invitation to Forum from Planning Committee - 2021
92

Appendix 5: One-Month Follow Up Letter to Delaware Participants and Stakeholders - 2018/2019
93

Appendix 6: Post Forum Letter to all Participants - 2021
94

Appendix 7: Case Studies 2018/2019 - Linking Farm Vitality and Health Forum
96

Appendix 8: Case Studies 2021 Could Covid Happen Again? Forum
98

Appendix 10: Key Informant Interview Question Guide (2018/2019)
101

Appendix 11: Focus Group Questions (2021)
102

Appendix 12: Evaluation - Sample Temperature Reading
103

Appendix 13: Evaluation Questions used for Online/Virtual Forum
104

Appendix 14: Evaluation - 3-Month Post-Forum Survey (2021)
105

Appendix 15: Special Supplement to the Delmarva Farmer
106

Article Written by Attendee and Reporter Carol Kinsley
106

REFERENCES
107

impact.extension.org

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