Communities need to know more about who you are as an Association. Community Engagement should be an important part of the local Association structure. There should be an established committee within the association that deals specifically with the community. This committee should have a plan that brings the association and community together.
In order to build a stronger relationship, it is important for our communities to know who we are and what we are about. We do not want the public to see us only when demanding higher salaries or urging the School Board to pass the budget. What we need is ongoing visibility in our communities so that when we do reach out to them, it is not only during a crisis. Communities have to see more of who we are and what we are about.
We do this by working with communities to build relationships and partnerships. A community engagement plan should be an integral part of a local chapter's plan and have a line item in its budget. Community Engagement programs need as much attention when bargaining is not going on as when it is.
A Community Engagement program works best when it is aligned with a chapter's goals and objectives. In order for this to happen, community outreach needs to be woven into the chapter's planning process. Only then is an association ready to start its community engagement program -- which will enhance its bargaining positions and other priorities.
CTA members do community outreach every day through conversations with parents, students, caregivers and public agencies in and out of their workplaces. Local associations need only to survey and identify members who are already involved in community organizations and activities.
Community involvement is also an opportunity for locals to support community issues even when those issues don't impact the chapter. Some of these issues can include housing, safety, social services and transportation.