Community Engagement Toolkit

The Southern Nevada Strong Regional Plan charts our community’s vision for a better future. It was developed through a robust planning process that emphasized community engagement to ensure broad, representative participation informed the plan’s goals and strategies. Because of these efforts, the plan was awarded the 2016 National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach from the American Planning Association, setting a new standard for what inclusive community engagement can accomplish in our region.

During the engagement process, Southern Nevadans described a future with opportunities to continue public participation in decision-making processes throughout the region. In response, the Southern Nevada Strong (SNS) team, with input from community partners, developed a community engagement toolkit. The toolkit is a resource for advancing public participation throughout Southern Nevada. It will guide residents, businesses, civic groups, and public agencies toward more effective engagement, and provides a framework for more informed and inclusive decision-making processes.

In recent circumstances, we have seen community engagement re-imagined. In response to COVID-19, Southern Nevada’s public agencies, civic groups, businesses, and residents mobilized around online engagement platforms and tools. We are hopeful that some of these strategies will carry over into our recovery period, further diversifying the voices heard in our community engagement processes.

The toolkit below provides various resources for conducting community engagement, including resources for traditional in-person engagement as well as strategies for conducting online and virtual engagement. In most cases, it can be beneficial to use a combination of techniques, ensuring that the process allows for broad participation from all of our region’s residents.

What is Community Engagement?

Community Engagement is the process of working collaboratively with individuals or groups affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues and achieve goals specific to the benefits of those people.

SNS Community Engagement Toolkit

SNS Community Engagement Spectrum

The SNS Community Engagement Spectrum is designed to help clarify and determine the level of community participation in a public process or decision. It can be used in conjunction with the community engagement worksheet and will assist you with determining the goals, stakeholder and audience roles, and engagement tools and tactics for your community engagement process. The SNS Community Engagement Spectrum will help to clarify and determine the level of community participation in a public process or decision.

SNS Community Data Map

This interactive digital map is a useful resource for understanding your target area and defining your target audience. The map displays key socioeconomic and demographic data (such as rates of educational attainment, language proficiency, and homeownership) within Clark County by block group and census tract. The data map will help you to complete the community engagement worksheet. Please see the video below for detailed instructions for using the Community Data Map.

SNS Community Engagement Worksheet

This step-by-step worksheet will assist you with developing and executing a public engagement plan. Use the worksheet to help identify the purpose, target audience, and strategies for effective communication and engagement with your intended audience.

SNS Community Engagement Evaluation Guide

The evaluation guide is a framework for evaluating your community engagement process. It will assist with conducting intermittent progress checks and performing a final assessment for your engagement project. Be sure to share your experience, successes, and lessons learned with the SNS team so we can track our region’s progress towards increasing public participation opportunities throughout the region.

Additional Resources

The following are additional resources for understanding and planning for community engagement:

Arnstein’s “Ladder of Citizen Participation” revisited
A blog post about the evolution of citizen participation in the planning profession

IAP2 resources for public engagement
Resources for improving the quality of public participation

MRSC’s communication and citizen participation techniques
Approaches for inclusive public participation

Involve’s methods for community engagement
Various methods for community engagement including definitions and examples

The following are additional resources for community data and metrics in Southern Nevada:

United Way of Southern Nevada – Community Data Portals
The community data portal provides links to various sources for information in our community. Included in the portal are links for demographic, economic, workforce and business, education, government, health, neighborhood revitalization, sustainability and environment, and transportation data sources.

The following are additional resources for conducting online and virtual engagement:

7 essential features for your online public engagement toolkit
A blog post identifying tools and strategies for virtual engagement.

10 Tips for picking the best tech tools for your next virtual meeting
Considerations for choosing digital tools for conducting virtual meetings.

Equitable community engagement during a global pandemic and beyond.
Guidelines for hosting accessible and equitable virtual meetings for all who wish to participate.