Guiding principles

Different organizations and jurisdictions have developed principles to guide their community engagement work. Principles are useful to orient the approach that an organization, through its board and staff, will take when undertaking a CE process. Generally, guiding principles cluster under four key categories:

Principles of Effectiveness:

  • Engage early enough to make a difference
  • Resource it properly
  • Be prepared to pay attention to the results
  • Monitor and evaluate its effectiveness

Principles of Clarity:
  • Be transparent in terms of purpose and communication
  • Be transparent about how results will be used
  • Develop a clear but flexible project strategy

Principles of Inclusion:
  • Build in ethnocultural diversity
  • Eliminate physical, psychological and socioeconomic barriers to participation by all groups

Principles of Respect:
  • Be the community’s partner, not its master
  • Use tools acceptable to the participants
  • Hear what people say, not what you want to hear
  • Create realistic timelines

Community Engagement and Communication: The Health Planners’ Toolkit, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

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