Evaluating civic engagement allows local officials and the public to determine participant satisfaction, identify lessons learned, and improve future engagement strategies. The following resources take a deep look at evaluating civic engagement initiatives and provide guidance, tools, and indicators to help leaders follow through with effective evaluation.
Assessing Public Engagement Effectiveness: Rapid Review Worksheets, Institute for Local Government
Evaluating municipally-sponsored public engagement is often overlooked because of time and capacity constraints. These simple, Rapid Review worksheets are practical tools to gauge the success of varying engagement approaches. This report outlines the benefits of evaluation, describes how to use the Rapid Review worksheets, and offers four worksheets to evaluate engagement efforts.
In Defense of Logic Models by Ian David Moss, CreatEquity
In Defense of Logic Models is light-hearted but impactful article about the importance of creating a logical framework approach to evaluate placemaking and engagement projects. The article describes how to put together a logic model, its importance, and links to specific examples to use as guides.
Places in the Making: How Placemaking Builds Places and Communities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This report offers a detailed look into placemaking challenges, success stories, and best practices. Although the document is placemaking-specific, much of the research can also be applied to engagement projects. Appendix A (starting on page 60) outlines how to best translate placemaking goals into measurable indicators. Some of these recommendations can also be applied more generally to engagement projects.
Planning for Stronger Local Democracy: A Field Guide for Local Officials by Matt Leighninger and Bonnie C. Mann, National League of Cities
The National League of Cities offers a detailed look at engagement in local government by introducing 14 key questions engagement teams should explore before, during, and after an initiative. Question 12 (starting on page 33) features benchmarks in which to evaluate engagement activities and outlines next steps communities can take to draft evaluation guidelines. The second half of this report provides the building blocks for creating democratic spaces, building local skills and capacity, and improving public decision-making.
Public Pathways: A Guide to Online Engagement Tools for Local Government, by Alissa Black and Bita Neyestani, New America Foundation
Many municipalities are gaining momentum through online and technology-based. This report from the New America Foundation outlines the varying types of online engagement (from sharing information to empowering citizens) and specific evaluation measurements (starting on page 13) based on the engagement strategy and goals.
Evaluation Sample Documents
- Marquette Public Participation Tracking Form
- Grand Rapids Meeting Evaluation Form
- Penn State University Extension Evaluation Worksheet
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