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Annex 4 - Municipal Engagement

Before you decide to engage your municipality on any issue, keep in mind the following:

Have a clear, actionable goal

  • Make sure you know what you’re asking for
  • Be articulate and clear about it
  • Know exactly why you want a change to take place

Have a communication strategy

  • Craft a clear message and supporting points
  • Develop a Question and Answer document
  • Have trained spoke people ready
  • Know how to engage the media
  • Send your message out many times, in many different ways
  • Focus on face-to-face communication
  • If possible, create a website and put together a social media strategy

Amplify your voice

  • Strategically select key influencers who believe in your cause. Community leaders, business leaders, artists, and other celebrities
  • Start a petition of concerned citizens going

Identify the right office

  • Find out who you should be talking to
  • Who will be able to move your issue forward
  • Who can make decisions that can impact your issue
  • Who's responsibility it is

Document your issue impeccably

  • Rely on facts, letters, photographs, laws, and examples, not opinions and grandstanding statements
  • Focus on the problem and gather as much supporting proof and as many tools as you can to help get the problem solved

Be professional and understanding

  • Approach the conversation as a negotiation
  • Be professional, honest, and transparent
  • Offer your documentation
  • Let them know that if they can't help you, you'd like them to direct you to a department that can
  • Get follow-up dates and commitments
  • Write down the names of the people you speak to and when you spoke to them
  • Get commitments in writing if at all possible

Go visit in person

  • Call the official’s office, let them know that you have an issue you'd like to discuss with them, and get on their calendar
  • If you can't get a private audience and you want to talk to someone in person, go to the next public meeting, council session, town hall meeting, or open forum for your community
  • If you're going to speak in front of a city council, bring whatever supporting documents you want to show off (and copies to give away), and get ready in advance.