What are some ways to engage your community?

See the Infosheet below for some ideas about how you can engage your community to increase their involvement, awareness and support for your Indigenous Guardian program.

And you can check out specific ways that Indigenous Guardian programs are sharing information with their communities here.

Info sheet

Some Ways to Engage your Community

 

Program reporting - Annual reports, program briefings, presentations to Council, Management Boards, etc. Consider scheduling standing meetings (i.e. monthly, annually) to connect across departments, with Council, or with key decision-makers to keep them informed of your program activities. The Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs' Forum share their intro to their Guardian Program developed to let community members know what they plan for the season. 

Program updates - Regular updates in newsletters, blogs, radio ads, social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter), etc. These can be short and sweet. Often, the more regular the better. The Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs' Forum share their Guardian Program End of Season Update for ideas. 

Printed resources - Program brochures, information sheets, maps, posters, etc. Having print information you can leave behind gives people time to absorb and think about what you’re sharing. Below you will find links to several examples of newsletters and brochures developed for guardian program outreach.

Workshops and small group sessions - Working sessions focused on specific issues, priority setting, program planning, etc. Small group or focused sessions can encourage higher participation as many people feel more comfortable speaking. See the article 'A Model for Aboriginal Facilitation' for tools on increasing participation at meetings.

Community meetings - Meetings, open houses, feasts, etc. Use events to share program updates, data and findings, solicit ideas and feedback, recognize guardians and community members, celebrate success, etc. To increase event attendance consider supporting people by providing transportation, child care, food, translation services, etc.

Open feedback channels - Provide people with a phone contact line, email address, online surveys or feedback forms, etc. Invite feedback in many ways so people can reach out in the way they feel most comfortable. Remember to always follow up!

Website - You may or may not want or need a dedicated website for your program, but an online “home base” may help people in the community and beyond find your program fast. At minimum, consider building a simple profile for your program through an established website or existing page. This will help ensure a quick and easy search leads people to your program and important contact information.

Social and other media - Using social media such as Facebook and Twitter can be a great way to keep people informed about your program. It can also act as a feedback channel. Be sure to set social media policies to ensure communication remains respectful. Call-in radio shows are another great way to have a public dialogue with community members. See how the Gitanyow use Facebook to manage wildlife populations in the story 'Using Facebook to Manage Moose Populations on Gitanyow Territory'.

Visual stories - Produce and share program video, slide shows, photos, maps, stories, field experiences, etc. People tend to engage more when the can see, hear, touch or point to what you are talking about. Maps often get people interested! The Northern Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Managers Alliance using a unique method for creating visual stories called 'Story Reporting'.

Community outreach - Have guardians participate in or attend other community gatherings, meetings, social groups, elders groups, youth camps, celebrations, etc. Sit, talk, share and listen.

Patrols and on-the-land experiences - Invite community members out with your guardians to share and learn (remembering to address any liability/safety/risk concerns). Share information about when and where your guardians’ are headed and what they are doing. Have guardians support or participate in community and children’s camps.

Contests - Engage community members through logo contests, photo contests, writing contests, trivia, etc.

Youth and children - Schedule your guardians to give class presentations, attend career days, provide mentoring, host internships, guide field-trips (remembering to address any liability/safety/risk concerns), etc. Look for opportunities to include and inspire young people. For more ideas go to the 'Involve Youth' chapter of the toolkit.

Elders - Meet with Elders’ groups, host tea & bannock sessions, support food harvesting for Elders, bring in Elder advisors, etc. Think through different kinds of compensation approaches to honour the contributions that Elders bring (i.e. recognition, gifts, honoraria, etc.).

Governance - Build strong community representation into your program governance structure (i.e. advisory board, committees, etc.) Work with other community committees, departments, entities etc. to ensure the guardian program is well-aligned with other community initiatives. The section 'How will your Indigenous Guardian program be governed?' from the chapter 'Set up a Governance Structure' provides some approaches that have been taken by communities in other parts of Canada.

Info sheet

Some Ways to Engage your Community

For information on how to engage your community online and host events, workshops, and seminars virtually, please see the Virtual Community Engagement Guide below.

For information on how to engage your community online and host events, workshops, and seminars virtually, please see the Virtual Community Engagement Guide below.
Community resource

Virtual Community Engagement Guide: A Toolkit for Hosting Online Community Engagement and Meetings in Rural, Remote, and Indigenous Communities

The “Virtual Community Engagement Guide: A Toolkit for Hosting Online Community Engagement and Meetings in Rural, Remote, and Indigenous Communities” provides guidance and tips on hosting virtual meetings with your community.  From tools and technology to logistics and wise practices, this Guide was created to help you address some of the most common virtual meeting barriers and opport

Community resource

Virtual Community Engagement Guide: A Toolkit for Hosting Online Community Engagement and Meetings in Rural, Remote, and Indigenous Communities

Check out the Worksheet 'Developing Communication and Outreach Materials' for a list of resources and links related to developing a communications plan, using social media, writing newsletters, developing websites, and communicating visually.

Check out the Worksheet 'Developing Communication and Outreach Materials' for a list of resources and links related to developing a communications plan, using social media, writing newsletters, developing websites, and communicating visually.
Worksheet

Developing Communications and Outreach Materials

This Worksheet contains some resources and links related to developing a communications plan, using social media, writing newsletters, developing websites, and communicating visually. Download it now

Worksheet

Developing Communications and Outreach Materials

Tipsheet

Tips For Communicating About Your Indigenous Guardian Program Online

  1. Know your audience. Reflect on who you are most likely to be communicating with online. Tailor your content to the specific audiences you want to reach.
  2. Choose the online platform(s) that best meets your online community’s needs. Understand how the platform functions in terms of post frequency, and type of content being uploaded.
  3. Build a framework to establish basic guidelines on what is or isn’t appropriate to post in your social media space and consider having a moderator who approves community posts to uphold those guidelines.
  4. Make a schedule of what and when you will post online and stick to it. Prepare posts ahead of time to help you maintain your schedule. 
  5. Post consistently on your social media platforms so people know what your program is doing and feel connected through your updates.
  6. Be clear, concise, and informative when posting. Include as much information as possible, but be clear on what information you can or can’t post (such as sensitive data or preliminary information). 
  7. Take Lots of Photos. Having consistent documentation of your program allows your community the ability to see what has been going on in their territory.
  8. Use hashtags consistently in all your posts.
  9. Respect privacy by carefully reviewing your written posts, photos, and videos for personal information that you do not have consent to share (such as license plates or children’s faces).
  10. Maintain your tone, stay consistent, stay positive, and be genuine in your engagement. Sharing your personality when you are posting will resonate with your audience and communicate that you are a real person who is learning every day. 
  11. Engage and build relationships with people in the community you serve. Engaging in positive communication can get your community excited about your work and make it easier for them to contact you directly for information.

Special thanks to Chelsie Parayko, Amberly Quakegesic, Nicole Morven, Jimmy Morgan, and Pamela Vernaus for contributing their expertise to the TST webinar, Communicating About What You Do.

Tipsheet

Tips For Communicating About Your Indigenous Guardian Program Online

Story

Using Facebook to Manage Moose Populations on Gitanyow Territory

Community resource

Guardian Program Intro - Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum

The 'Guardian Program Intro' shared by Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs' Forum and Ecotrust is short two page newsletter for community members introducing their Guardian Watchman program, including vision, why and how the program was established, expected results and a map of the area to be monitored. 

Community resource

Guardian Program Intro - Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum

Community resource

Guardian Program End of Season Update - Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum

The 'Guardian Program Update' shared by Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum and Ecotrust is an example of an end of season report on how this group keeps their community members informed about their program activities – it includes a short description about the Guardian Program vision, why and how it was established, key results, accomplishments, key questions and next steps for the progr

Community resource

Guardian Program End of Season Update - Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum