Community engagement

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Community engagement is involvement and participation in an organization for the welfare of the community.

Defining characteristics[edit]

Volunteers actions, which involves giving personal time to projects in humanitarian NGOs or religious groups, are forms of community involvement.[1] The engagement is generally motivated by values and ideals of social justice[2] Community engagement can be volunteering at food banks, homeless shelters, emergency assistance programs, neighborhood cleanup programs, etc.[3][4][5]

It is also defined as "a dynamic relational process that facilitates communication, interaction, involvement, and exchange between an organization and a community for a range of social and organizational outcomes".[6] As a concept, engagement features attributes of connection, interaction, participation, and involvement, designed to achieve or elicit an outcome at individual, organization, or social levels.[7] Current research acknowledges engagement’s socially-situated nature. Community engagement therefore offers an ethical, reflexive, and socially responsive approach to community-organizational relationships with engagement practices that aim to both understand and be responsive to community needs, views, and expectations.[8][9]

Community engagement is a community-centered orientation based in dialogue.[10] Community engagement enables a more contextualized understanding of community members’ perceptions of the topics and contexts, and facilitates stronger relationships among and between community members.[11] The outcome of community engagement is ultimately social capital and stronger relational networks.[12] While community organizing involves the process of building a grassroots movement involving communities, community engagement primarily deals with the practice of moving communities toward change, usually from a stalled or similarly suspended position.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marie Weil, Michael S. Reisch, Mary L. Ohmer, The Handbook of Community Practice, SAGE Publications, USA, 2012, p. 169
  2. ^ Nichole Georgeou, Neoliberalism, Development, and Aid Volunteering, Routledge, USA, 2012, p. 103-105
  3. ^ Cathryn Crosby, Frederick Brockmeier, Student Experiences and Educational Outcomes in Community Engagement for the 21st Century, IGI Global, USA, 2016, p. 45
  4. ^ Paul A. Gaist, Igniting the Power of Community: The Role of CBOs and NGOs in Global Public Health, Springer, USA, 2009, p. 239
  5. ^ Yves Beigbeder, The Role and Statuts of International Humanitarian Volunteers and Organizations: The Right and Duty to Humanitarian Assistance, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Belgium, 1991, p. 83
  6. ^ Johnston, K. A. (2018). Toward a theory of social engagement. In K. A. Johnston & M. Taylor (Eds.), The Handbook of Communication Engagement (pp. 19-32). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  7. ^ Johnston, Kim A. (2010-03-17). "Community Engagement: Exploring a Relational Approach to Consultation and Collaborative Practice in Australia" (PDF). Journal of Promotion Management. 16 (1–2): 217–234. doi:10.1080/10496490903578550. ISSN 1049-6491. S2CID 167693206.
  8. ^ Johnston, K. A. (2018). Engagement. In R. L. Heath (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Strategic Communication: Wiley
  9. ^ Dada, Sara; McKay, Gillian; Mateus, Ana; Lees, Shelley (2019-12-11). "Lessons learned from engaging communities for Ebola vaccine trials in Sierra Leone: reciprocity, relatability, relationships and respect (the four R's)". BMC Public Health. 19 (1): 1665. doi:10.1186/s12889-019-7978-4. ISSN 1471-2458. PMC 6907283. PMID 31829223.
  10. ^ Taylor, Maureen; Kent, Michael L. (2014-10-20). "Dialogic Engagement: Clarifying Foundational Concepts". Journal of Public Relations Research. 26 (5): 384–398. doi:10.1080/1062726x.2014.956106. ISSN 1062-726X. S2CID 143995731.
  11. ^ Johnston, K. A., & Lane, A. (2018). Building relational capital: The contribution of episodic and relational community engagement. Public Relation Review. doi:
  12. ^ Johnston, K. A., & Lane, A. (2018). Building relational capital: The contribution of episodic and relational community engagement. Public Relation Review. doi: