Tools and Resources for Remote Community Engagement - Resources During COVID-19
The Center for Regional Change maintains a mission of supporting healthy, equitable, prosperous, and sustainable regions and communities. During this unprecedented time, we have the privilege to work alongside admirable partners who share our collective vision of a healthier California. Yet, challenges to our collective health continue to increase amid the global pandemic, entrenched racial inequities, statewide budget cuts, and increased demands on social infrastructures. The devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic is as much an issue of inequality as it is an issue of epidemiology. Like many others around the world, the CRC had to shift its work online back in the spring due to public health concerns. The collaborative, action-oriented research we conduct and the community-led efforts we support are needed now more than ever, but how does one do this work as authentically, equitably and effectively as possible during a pandemic? To help answer this question and support our staff and others engaged in similar remote work with communities, the CRC’s Community Engagement team decided to compile the following resource guide.
This resource guide is intended to be used by our partners who have been forced, like us, to adapt to this new online world of relationship building and engagement. It is organized by various community engagement approaches for ease of use. The first category is Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and includes tips for remote project facilitation and engagement with youth. The next category focuses on Civic Engagement & Community Outreach. Organizations and individuals engaged in participatory planning, public forums, design charrettes, relationship building, and other strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic can find resources and guides in this section. The Meeting & Training Facilitation section is intended to support online facilitation using popular platforms. And lastly, there is a more exhaustive list of resources provided in the Compilation Resource List section specifically focused on achieving racial equity and social justice.
The following are resources and strategies to help you facilitate a variety of community engagement approaches as authentically, equitably, and effectively as possible while working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Youth Participatory Action Research (a.k.a. PAR, CBPR, etc.)
- Tips for Facilitating YPAR Remotely – UC Davis Center for Regional Change & School of Education
- A set of recommendations created by CRC staff member Brandon Louie and CRC faculty affiliate Dr. Nancy Erbstein. While the focus is on youth participatory action research, it could easily be adapted and applied to work with adults and/or intergenerational teams engaged in action research or community-based participatory research (CBPR). Recommendations are aligned with the Community Futures, Community Lore YPAR resource site and the Stepping Stones toolkit from the CRC and the School of Education.
Civic Engagement & Community Outreach (e.g., participatory planning, public forums, design charrettes, relationship building, etc.)
- Pivoting Community Engagement during COVID-19 – The Urban Institute
- Provides ideas for how and why to engage with communities during the pandemic, including tips for how to approach working with impacted communities and groups that serve them thoughtfully and intentionally.
- 7 Emerging Tips for Equitable Digital Engagement – American Planning Association
- Helpful tips for community outreach and engagement that center equity.
- Practices for Engagement in the Time of COVID – Salt Lake City Civic Engagement Team
- Documents promising practices for civic engagement during shelter-in-place restrictions.
Meeting & Training Facilitation:
- Tips for Creating an Inclusive Virtual Space – The Aspen Institute
- Shares a number of considerations for designing and facilitating inclusive online gatherings. Some ideas are specific to the current pandemic, while others could be useful for in-person sessions as well.
- Best Practices for Virtual Engagement – Local Government Commission
- Provides thoughtful practices for engaging community members in online training workshops and a variety of virtual forum settings. Has general tips and also organizes key ideas in checklists to aid planning and decision-making efforts.
Compilation Resource List:
- COVID-19 - Racial Equity & Social Justice Resources – Racial Equity Tools
- While we tried to avoid sharing lists of other lists, we wanted to highlight this extensive compilation of resources to support racial equity and social justice efforts. Includes key information about racial disparities that have been heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Remote Work and Online Engagement” section contains links to a number of helpful resources supporting equitable online engagement and relationship building.
If you are currently working on a project involving online community engagement and have interest in discussing opportunities for training, technical assistance and/or partnership with the Center for Regional Change, please email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.