Impact Driven Principles for Effective Community Engagement and Outreach - Connect The Dots Insights
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Impact Driven Principles for Effective Community Engagement and Outreach

Impact Driven Principles for Effective Community Engagement and Outreach


Here at Connect the Dots, we like to lead with our values and are guided by impact driven community engagement and outreach. This motivation is what inspired the name of our company! When we speak about impact driven community engagement and outreach, we like to think about connecting various engagement interactions to key decision points in public participatory processes. It is here at these key decision points, where input from members of the public is usually required. At this same moment, this is where we identify in our work what is really required to learn from the public and later, how we connect the dots! See how we utilized multiple in-person and online tactics to collect people’s stories surrounding the Roundhouse Building. We hosted events, attended festivals, and gathered people from all walks of life from across Philadelphia for focus groups and conversations to meet people where they are physically and mentally.

Looking to find which successful impact driven strategies for community engagement and outreach can be applied in your community? Also watch our 1-hour webinar, hosted by Connect the Dots Project Manager, Sylvia García-García and Sally Guzik, VP of Strategic Initiatives at Fourth Economy to find out how you can tailor community engagement to the specific needs of your region.

People-First Community Engagement and Outreach

Throughout all moments in a project, we respect community members and focus on building trust through accountability, authenticity, and reciprocity. Community members and stakeholders are experts in their own lives and we treat them accordingly. When we talk about inclusive processes, we might automatically think about ADA accessible buildings and language access. Of course these all are important pieces to the puzzle. But we think beyond these foundational pieces when creating an effective community engagement and outreach plan. 

We create access to opportunities for input to ensure authentic community interaction and special consideration for marginalized voices. In community engagement, there is no one size fits all approach and these are often the strategies that fail in the end. We recognize that individual and collective identities are made up of multiple layers of experiences, abilities, and preferences. These differing layers translate to a need for multiple layer engagement tactics, rather than a reliance on a single tactic. 

Inclusive Community Engagement and Outreach

We create access to opportunities for input to ensure community representation, with a special consideration for marginalized voices. In many cases, we don’t just use one single engagement or outreach tactic, but utilize multiple layers. This could include multiple versions of the same tactic, different tactics all together, or even different formats such as in-person events at accessible locations near public transit, offering multiple remote sessions that considers stakeholders’ differing availability and so on. It is about creating a really inclusive process that considers all members of your audience. This is why we prioritize creative solutions and interactions that are learned from the community context, so we can meet people where they are.

Traditional tactics such as public meetings and surveys are of course options and are sometimes the most effective or practical engagement method to utilize. However, they are just a couple among dozens of other tactics that you should consider when developing an effective engagement and outreach strategy that goes beyond the standard. Here at Connect the Dots, we are motivated by creating experiences that are motivating, friendly, significant and welcoming for the public.

Transparent Community Engagement and Outreach

Last but not least, transparency is another important value that guides us in our work. We provide clear and accessible information, giving stakeholders insight and involvement into the overall participation process itself, and throughout different project phases, we come back to demonstrate outcomes. Practically, the following examples are just a few of the ways in which transparency can be incorporated into a community engagement and outreach process:

  • Hosting a shared back session at the end of the process that brings transparency front of stage.
  • Creating a virtual project hub or shared folder where information can be shared.
  • Hosting a phone number where stakeholders can reach out to find out updates and know what’s going on.



There are many moving pieces that need to be considered in order to craft an effective community engagement strategy. Having trouble where to begin with your own community? Our very own project manager Sylvia García-García, recently joined together with project partner Sally Guzik, VP of Strategic Initiatives at Fourth Economy to help you answer this question. Watch the webinar today to find out why community engagement is a vital part of planning at every level and how it can be successfully implemented to tackle the unique challenges in your region.




Robby Alva is a Community Engagement Associate at Connect the Dots. He graduated with a joint Master’s degree in Urban Studies from the Universities of Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen and Madrid. Inquisitive and resourceful, he is passionate about centering inclusion and resident perspectives, and is motivated by the desire to learn and understand human behavior to improve quality of life in urban communities. Connect with Robby on Linkedin



Sylvia García García is a Project Manager at Connect the Dots. A Social Impact Strategist and Inclusive Spaces Creator, she runs a variety of stakeholder and community engagement projects. Sylvia holds a Master’s in Strategic Thinking from Tec de Monterrey and has since worked as a consultant and project manager across sectors and countries. Connect with Sylvia on Linkedin


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