Knowledge Forum on Engaging the Community: Best Practices in Community Engagement
The purpose of this event was to bring together experts from academia, industry, government, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to discuss an important issue in business sustainability. This report highlights the main ideas, provoking questions, and key take-aways of each Forum presentation.
- Globalization is tipping the balance of power in favour of corporations; but this power is accompanied by increasing pressure on corporations to improve their social performance.
- Managers should engage stakeholders in project design early and often, and use stakeholder input to anticipate and avoid impacts.
- Increasingly, firms are shifting from supporting a non-profit organization to supporting a cause and the outcomes associated with it.
- Best practices in community engagement include: engage only if you are prepared to listen; get buy-in from senior management; have a community focal point; do not cherry-pick with whom you engage; do not change the rules mid-stream; use various communication methods and materials; be transparent, predictable, frank, reliable, available, responsive, and friendly.
- Engaging fringe stakeholders can lead to competitive imagination and innovation.