The March 7 Convening, engage^n - Community Engagement 2012 brought together 235 Members and Forum Partners, giving grantmakers and nonprofit organizations an opportunity for learning and connecting around an important topic of common concern. Opening and closing keynote presentations by Peter Levine, Director of CIRCLE, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement and Bruce Sievers, visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society , can be found on Chicago Amplified, WBEZ radio’s web archive of informative programming in the Chicago area.
In advance of a more complete report that will be shared with all Members and Partners, please see the highlights below:
• At the event, polling by AmericaSpeaks gave participants a voice in identifying the types of community engagement activities they plan to conduct or explore in the coming months. A strong 70% selected “Educate citizens on critical issues” as the activity they plan to pursue. The next most frequently chosen activities were “Promote participation using social media” (63%) and “Recruit volunteers” (53%).
• Nearly half of the participants (114 or 49%) responded to a post-event survey on what they gained through their participation in the convening. Most respondents (71.7% ) said they learned something new about community engagement and the role of foundations and nonprofits in promoting and supporting community engagement. Nearly all respondents (95.6%) indicated that they made new connections to grantmakers, nonprofits, or other colleagues.
• In keeping with onsite AmericaSpeaks poll that showed participants’ interest in “Educating citizens on critical issues,” the greatest proportion of post-event survey respondents (68.2%) identified the same topic as the one they would most like to learn more about. The next most frequently chosen area for learning more about was “Reaching out to citizens to identify the critical issues in the community” (44.3%).
• About 60 people, half of those responding to the post-event survey, expressed interest in continuing to be involved in Donors Forum’s ongoing conversation on community engagement. Three-quarters of those expressing interest are Forum Partners and 25% are Members.
The Planning Committee is keenly interested in concrete next steps for continuing the conversation, and has reviewed the event and participant feedback toward that end. Donors Forum will reach out to those who shared contact information in the survey to get their ideas on next steps. Find more information, including a large photo of the graphic recording of the event as well as photos here.