KLA Perspectives

How to Get Consultants to Deliver Equitable Engagement, Starting with your RFP

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Oct 26, 2020 9:41:22 PM

Communities large and small are grappling with the COVID pandemic and civil unrest related to police violence. Deep, historical inequities have been laid bare. Once again, our most marginalized neighbors are bearing the heaviest burden.

 As you contemplate future community engagement -- as part of a planning process (comp, transportation, sustainability, resilience, climate action plan, etc.), piloting a new program, or spreading the word about assistance opportunities -- equity must be at the core of your approach. Your RFP can help set that expectation and ensure you get more than checking the box style engagement. 

"Integrating Equitable Engagement Into Your RFP Process" is a cheat sheet for local governments to set clear expectations for, ask the right questions of and effectively evaluate consultants on the ability to deliver equitable community engagement.

DOWNLOAD IT NOW

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2020 On The Bright Side: Our Client Videos

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Oct 21, 2020 1:42:06 PM

Here at KLA, we love to show off our clients’ accomplishments. And this year we really mean SHOW off.

In 2020 we produced 8 videos (with more in the works) that showcase their climate action and resilience initiatives -- highly effective tools for community outreach. These clients – Concord, Dedham, Devens, Watertown and Weston all in MA – are using these videos to engage people in their planning processes, launch their final plan, and encourage people to be part of the solution as the plan moves into implementation. An additional three clients – Columbia, MO, Encinitas, CA, and San Antonio, TX – have new :30 videos (optimal for social media and embedding on websites and in emails) to promote their climate and sustainability websites.

Why was video a key part of our work on these projects? As a visual species, humans find videos more engaging, more memorable, and more popular than any other type of content out there. Video is an incredibly strong tool for storytelling and information retention. In fact, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.

Take a look at these 8 short videos to see the power of video in action. We break down unique features and format for each along with why we took the approach we did.

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Podcast: Success with "Reduce and Reuse" in Devens

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Oct 8, 2020 2:15:24 PM

In a sign of how busy we have been at KLA even before the stress of COVID, we are just now able to share with you a conversation I had in late 2019 -- seems like eons go! But, like it or not, the topic of waste reduction is just as relevant today. 

Indeed, from grappling with changes in the recycling industry to setting ambitious Zero Waste goals, local governments have to grapple with the realities of waste processing -- not to mention the increasing amount of waste we're generating -- even as they pursue waste reduction strategies. 

Which is why I'm excited for you to listen to my SAS Talk with Kim podcast with Dona Neely of the Eco Efficiency Center in Devens, MA. They run The Great Exchange which keeps about 50 tons of material out of the landfill every year while supporting local businesses, nonprofits and schools. 

LISTEN NOW.

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Tools to Leverage for Online Earth Day + Community Engagement

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Apr 21, 2020 1:32:15 PM

This week is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but all the typical ways we would celebrate -- local Earth Day fairs, park clean ups, school projects -- are not possible during a time of COVID19 social distancing. And it’s not just Earth Day events. Communities large and small are kicking off or in the middle of community engagement efforts for sustainability, climate action and resilience plans.  

The show must go on. 

And we've captured here some of the ways to keep momentum going on these important issues -- including Livestreaming, virtual meetings (with breakout rooms, polling and more),  social media content, storymaps, and more. 

We're looking forward to seeing all the creative ways local governments and nonprofits are engaging people in virtual events and activities on Earth Day and beyond. 

Shout out to Nashua, NH, for letting their residents explore all the renewable energy installations in town virtually. We worked with them to add this "storymap" feature to their newly revamped Livable Nashua Dashboard utilizing the Knight Foundation's free StoryMap tool.  Click on the image below to check out how Nashua is showcasing their clean energy progress in an innovative way. 

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Community Engagement in an Age of Social Distancing

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Mar 19, 2020 4:03:38 PM

We hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe during these scary times. The threats to our public health and economy are unprecedented, yet the responses of communities nationwide rallying together while staying physically apart keep us going. 

May you also find success transitioning to working from home (as you can see, we moved a team strategy session to Zoom with plenty of smiles), keeping your kids educated and entertained, and tracking down toilet paper and wipes. 

The uncertainty around the trajectory of COVID19 makes it unlikely that any public events will go forward as planned this spring -- including Earth Day (the international celebration has moved to a digital mobilization event) or community engagement around sustainability, climate and/or resilience planning. Even smaller stakeholder meetings will be impacted.  

Cancellation is not your only option! Be resilient! In fact, for the sake of our communities and our planet, the show must go on in some shape or form. There are plenty of options for creative workarounds.

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Karen Kao Joins KLA as Project Manager

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Feb 24, 2020 2:24:09 PM

If there is one thing the KLA team has been so far in 2020 it's BUSY! With a raft of new sustainability, resilience and climate action work, we are thrilled to welcome Karen Kao to the team as Project Manager!

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Welcome Kari Hewitt to the KLA Team

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jan 11, 2020 1:55:01 PM

New year, new face at KLA. We are thrilled to welcome Kari Hewitt to the KLA Team as Director of Client Services. She joins us from VHB after 10 years, most recently as Director of Sustainability -- and where she and I worked together. 

Kari will hit the ground running leading our work with the State of Delaware in developing their Climate Action Plan, supporting our MVP action grant clients in Massachusetts, and continuing to expand our reach throughout the country.

Many of you already know Kari and will share our excitement about adding her expertise and energy at this critical time. For those who will just now have the pleasure of working with her, I did a quick Q&A with Kari so you could hear from her in her own words. 

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Denver's Chief Storyteller on the Power of Stories to Engage Your Community

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Oct 29, 2019 12:35:14 PM

In the local government world, we are constantly trying to push information OUT to members of our community. A new initiative. Results from a previous initiative. A planning process. A public forum. A revamped website. Even when we’re seeking people’s feedback, we’re asking them *our* questions in a survey.  

Which is why I found my recent conversation with Rowena Alegria for KLA’s SAS Talk with Kim podcast so fascinating. Alegria has the supremely cool title of Chief Storyteller for the City and County of Denver, Colorado, and the even cooler goal to “change the history of Denver,” one story at a time. 

LISTEN NOW. 

Her team’s approach -- the core of which is a “storytelling lab” -- has had the amazing result of turning interactions with residents into two-way conversations, the holy grail of community engagement. And these aren’t just the usual suspects. Denver’s storytelling labs have drawn a diverse array of Denverites and catalogued stories that you won’t hear at a typical public meeting. 

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Topics: community engagement, storytelling

Massachusetts' MVP Program: New Funding Will Keep Driving Local Climate + Resilience Action

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Oct 3, 2019 3:19:32 PM

Concord. Devens. Dedham. Holliston. Holyoke. New Bedford. Milton. Northampton. Wakefield. Watertown. Wellesley.  Weston.  

To say we’ve been busy helping all of these clients with their Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) work is an understatement. We tap our experience working with cities of all shapes and sizes nationwide -  from Encinitas, CA, to San Antonio, TX, and West Palm Beach, FL - and bring to the table a range of innovative approaches to climate, resilience and overall sustainability with strong results for smaller Massachusetts communities.  

And with a new round of MVP funding just announced, we're ready to keep rolling. 

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New Resource! 4 Steps to Add Street Teams to Your Equity + Community Engagement Efforts

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Sep 25, 2019 10:17:17 PM

KLA's Summer Intern takes a look at our latest resource, a 4-step guidance document on adding "street teams" to your community engagement strategies.

By: Claire McCoy

We know that one of the most effective ways to effectively engage your community during a planning or similar process is to get out in the community. To be present at community events. To convene small get-togethers. To show up at the places where people live, work, play and commute. 

But for busy local government staff, that can be a time and resource intensive exercise. And you might not be in the best position to get honest feedback. 

 

That’s why a key ingredient for robust, equitable engagement is street teams. 

Given the questions about and interest in street teams on our recent Equitable Engagement webinar, we pulled together a resource on the topic. It includes:

  • a detailed 4-step Recruit-Train-Coordinate-Evaluate process
  • best practices for getting your municipality’s first street team up and running
  • pro tips
  • resources like job descriptions and contracts 

Download our 4-Step Street Teams Guidance

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Topics: community engagement, equity, planning, youth outreach