Yep, We Do That-Sequel (Part I)

ThumbUpI have recently had several occasions to be confronted, once again, by the disconnect that exists between arts organizations’ self-perceptions with respect to community engagement and the reality of what they are (not) doing. When community engagement is viewed as a good thing, there is a powerful incentive to believe that the things being done are community engagement. (My “glass half full” lies in the first part of that sentence. Some people are beginning to look on community engagement as a positive.) This delays (sometimes precludes) change or leads to unfortunate assumptions on the part of others about what community engagement is. I addressed this previously in Yep, We Do That. There I presented questions to ask in an effort to assess the depth of commitment and the reality of impact of community engagement by arts organizations.

To carry this forward, I have developed more questions that can be addressed to see where an organization is in the process of embracing engagement. It’s my hope that the questions themselves can be educational in examining the role of engagement in the organization.

What follows are the yes/no and multiple choice questions. My next post will have the essay questions. Also, for your information, later this year these questions will be on my website (–but they’re not up there yet. They will also be included in my second book which will be available mid-year. (There, it’s official, I’ve committed to a date in public.) More on that a bit later.

Long Form Readiness Assessment
Commitment to Community Engagement
Part I

Is there a board-approved statement regarding the importance of community engagement? (Y/N)
Is community engagement a significant feature in organizational plans? (Y/N)

Staffing and Budget
Are there staff members with assigned responsibility for community engagement? (Y/N)
If so, how many? (single answer)


Is that staff member (or one of them) the CEO or a direct report to the CEO? (Y/N) If not, to whom does staff member report (single answer)

Marketing and Development are a single unit

Is community engagement included in the responsibilities of another department? (Y/N) If yes, which: (single answer)

Marketing and Development are a single unit

Is there a dedicated budget for community engagement? (Y/N)
Do programming decisions reflect the impact of/support community engagement? (Y/N)

Community Connections
Are mechanisms in place to learn the interests and needs of communities with which you attempt to connect? (Y/N)

If yes, what are they? (multiple answers)

Focus groups
On-going advisory committees made up of community members
Board representation

Do communities outside the arts seek your assistance in addressing their concerns or supporting their celebrations? (Y/N)



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