two-part exercise will help your community develop sustainability goals
based on society, environment, and economy.
and prioritize group objectives.
participation activity is for use after a community has already decided
to create sustainability goals. Other community participation processes
must first take place to bring the community to the point where it is
ready to create sustainability goals.
portion of this exercise may be distributed to residents of the community
and to community businesses. Have personnel ready to analyze the data
once questionnaires are returned.
Questionnaire (20 minutes), stakeholder meeting (2 hours).
labels/stickers (e.g., 1 to 2 cm. circles) in three colors.
Prepare a questionnaire
based on the sample provided with this exercise.
Choose a return deadline for completed questionnaires (e.g., two
weeks after mailing), as well as a date for the stakeholder meeting.
Be sure to give yourself ample time between mailing the questionnaire
and holding the stakeholder meeting to analyze and prepare the data
you have collected.
Write a cover letter
based on the sample provided with this exercise. The cover letter should
explain the purposes of the questionnaire and stakeholder meeting and
encourage participation in both. Be sure to include information about
the stakeholder meeting, including the date, place, and time, as well
as the return deadline for the questionnaire.
Mail the questionnaire along with a self-addressed, postage-paid return
When the questionnaires have been returned, analyze the responses.
Identify major topics of concern (e.g., conservation, education, public
transportation) and place each topic in one of three categories: society,
environment, or economy. List specific concerns under each major concern.
Keep track of the number of duplicate concerns. Your participants may
ask for this type of statistic.
One week prior to the stakeholder meeting, place a reminder of the
date, time, and place in the local newspaper. Announce the meeting on
local television and radio broadcasts. Encourage the media to run a
"public interest" story on the process.
In advance of the stakeholder meeting, write out all the vision statements
in alphabetical order under the three headings Society, Economy,
and Environment. [Note: Listing the statements alphabetically
allow seach to be seen as equal to the others. Do not put the responses
in order from most popular to least popular nor list the number of votes
each received. However, you should have this information available in
case it is requested.]
Arrange the seats in a semi-circle, in order to facilitate a conversational
At the appointed time, ask your participants to take seats. Thank
them for their time and commitment to the community. Explain that the
questionnaires drew many "vision statements" from the community,
and that another term for "vision statements" is sustainability
goals. Direct participants' attention to the lists of sustainability
goals. Begin a discussion of each suggested sustainability goal, asking
for explanations of the most unusual responses - some of these may give
great insight (1 hour).
Ask if anyone has any new sustainability goals to add. Add them to
the list and discuss these (15 minutes).
Revisit the list of sustainability goals. Combine similar goals; add
new goals; delete those the group found not relevant.
Designate one color label/sticker for environment, one for economy,
and one for society. Distribute 3 labels/stickers of each color to each
participant. Each participant should have 9 "markers".
Instruct participants to place one sticker each next to three
goals in each category (environment, economy, and society) that they
view as most important (in other words, each participant should mark
a total of nine goals, three in each category.)
Give your participants a 10-minute break while you tally the responses.
Reorder the goals according to the number of votes received, listing
them in descending order.
Review the results. Lead the group to discuss plans of action that
might achieve the first 3 or 4 goals in each category. See the activity
Making Your Ideas Fly!