Constructive Engagement

Understanding, engaging, and mobilizing policy makers, practitioners, and the public to make changes that further your impact goals.

Constructive Engagement helps leaders of community sector organizations develop effective strategies to understand and work with policy makers, practitioners, and the public to make specific changes that will directly improve the outcomes that the organization seeks and advance their mission. This process often involves clarifying barriers and opportunities to advancing the organization’s mission, understanding the priorities, beliefs, and constraints of policy makers, practitioners, and the public, and determining potential areas for success. Finally, it includes assessing and deciding among engagement tactics that will meet key objectives. 

View the Introduction to Constructive Engagement webinar here:

Introduction to Constructive Engagement Webinar from J.W. McConnell Family Foundation on Vimeo.

Slides from the webinar can be accessed here.

Constructive Engagement can lead to important outcomes. For instance, discussions of disability groups with several governments led to the creation of the Registered Disability Savings Plan which has provided long term income security for thousands of people with disabilities. Among practitioners, convincing doctors to implement hygienic dress codes, including not wearing ties, has reduced infection rates by up to 50% in some hospitals. 


The Constructive Engagement module has five components:


1. The Introduction to Constructive Engagement Webinar (above) provides participants with an overview of the key engagement concepts and strategies. View a recording of the webinar here.


2. The short Self-Assessment helps organizations determine whether participating in the detailed workshop would be a good investment for their organization and provides specific feedback on how to prepare to get the most out of the session.


3. The Workshop helps 3-4 member leaderships teams work together to: 

  • Identify the outcomes they hope to achieve as an organization (i.e. intended impact);
  • Isolate policy and practice barriers to those outcomes, and discern who needs to be engaged to remove those barriers;
  • Determine what those people would need to do differently, such as institute a change in policy or practice;
  • Select among approaches and tactics for engagement and change;
  • Draft the questions to ‘finalize’ for an engagement strategy, including what else needs to be figured out and who else needs to be engaged.

4. Organizations can connect with a Coach to help them: 

  • Answer key questions about engagement strategies and tactics 
  • Help participants begin to engage policy makers, practitioners or the public

5. Organizations can access Grants to hire a coach 


Content for Constructive Engagement module workshops is developed by:

Advocacy School