Engaging Minnesotans in community decisions
"We must cultivate the science of human relationships — the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together and work together."
—Franklin D. Roosevelt
Leaders and community members must act responsibly — and together — to create thriving communities.
Extension's civic engagement programs are informed by research and help communities engage residents as they solve problems and strengthen communities. Our goal is to help leaders, groups and community members participate in productive dialogue and grow social connections within communities.
Bringing together experience, information and diverse perspectives in a respectful process allows communities to reach decisions that are more thoughtful, broadly supported and ultimately sustainable.
Review our community resource tip sheets for topics such as:
Public involvement strategy
- Five reasons for involving others in public decisions
- Three steps for engaging the public successfully
Meeting planning and facilitation
- Pros and cons for internal and external facilitators
- Planning an effective meeting agenda
- Setting ground rules for productive discussions
Plan meetings and committees that work
When meetings are respectful and productive, communities can better solve problems and make decisions. Extension offers consultation, training and resources to help leaders facilitate meetings.
Build trust in communities
What holds your community together? The bonds between individuals, the bridges that bring different groups together and the links that connect valuable organizational resources are all types of social capital.
Extension helps communities understand their social capital, assess its strengths and weaknesses and identify local strategies to strengthen community trust and networks.
Extension studies the effectiveness of its civic engagement education programs every year.
Ways to get started
Our approach to civic engagement
Drawn from best practices and research, Extension's model of civic engagement guides leaders and community members in solving public issues or problems.
We offer workshop training and long-term cohorts to help communities plan for successful public engagement.
Engaging with the public
Best practices to help guide you when and how to engage the public in making decisions. View tip sheets
Don't overlook second homeowners
An Extension study of second homeowners show they may play a larger role than expected in the future of their new communities.