Engaging Minnesotans in community decisions
"We must cultivate the science of human relationships — the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together and work together."
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
Extension is ready to help local leaders engage residents as they solve problems and strengthen communities. Our goal is to help leaders, groups and community members create local discussion that is civil and productive. We also want to help you grow social connections in your community.
Learn strategies for civic engagement
Review our community resource tip sheets
Public involvement strategy
Meeting planning and facilitation
- Pros and cons of using internal and external facilitators
- Planning an effective meeting agenda
- Setting ground rules for productive discussions
Plan meetings and committees that work
When meetings are respectful and productive, communities can better solve problems and make decisions. Extension offers consultation, training and resources to help leaders facilitate meetings.
Learn how Extension can help you plan meetings
Build trust in your community
What holds your community together? The bonds between individuals, the bridges that bring different groups together and the links that connect valuable organizational resources are all types of social capital.
Extension helps communities understand their social capital, assess its strengths and weaknesses and identify local strategies to strengthen community trust and networks.
Learn about social capital and building trust
Extension's program impact
Extension programs work with local leaders and citizens over time. We teach civic engagement strategies and give you a chance to practice using them. We study the effectiveness of these civic engagement education programs every year.
Bringing together experience, information and diverse perspectives in a respectful process allows communities to reach decisions that are more thoughtful, broadly supported and ultimately sustainable.
Ways to get started
Review our topics and offerings
Getting residents involved in civic life is difficult but rewarding. Local leaders need solid tools to help them engage the public and design meetings that work. Our civic engagement programs teach local leaders about civic engagement and tools that make it more successful.
Learn about Extension educational offerings
Consult with an educator
Bring civic engagement education to your community or group.
Find an Extension educator in your area
Our approach to civic engagement
Drawn from best practices and research, Extension's model of civic engagement guides leaders and community members in solving public issues or problems.
We offer workshop training and long-term cohorts to help communities plan for successful public engagement.
View Extension's civic engagement model
Engaging with the public
Best practices to help guide you when and how to engage the public in making decisions. View tip sheets