NEWLY RELEASED: Effective Community Engagement: A toolkit for civil legal services programs, developed by NLADA’s Program Enhancement Committee. This toolkit will give your program critical information and materials to help you plan and implement community engagement strategies systematically and consistently. Intentional and sustained community engagement strengthens a legal service program’s capacity to understand and respond effectively to the needs of low income clients and communities. It is therefore one hallmark of high quality, high impact advocacy.
The materials include the following:
· An outline of community engagement methods, with examples
· Assessment and planning worksheets
· An outline of program systems that support effective community engagement
· Suggestions for involving client Board members in community engagement efforts
· A brief introduction to the concept of “community lawyering” – a potential outgrowth of effective and sustained community engagement
Effective community engagement is a basic building block for strategic advocacy. A program that is deeply embedded in the communities it serves:
· Reaches particularly isolated persons;
· Readily identifies current and emerging needs;
· Is viewed as an effective problem-solver for poor people – individually and collectively;
· Can be a credible and persuasive spokesperson for low-income persons;
· Is visible in a variety of forums where decisions that affect the lives of poor people are made;
· Has the stature and connections to participate effectively in advocacy-oriented coalitions and to work with other stakeholders to strengthen client communities.