Case Study: Fostering Inclusive and Effective Community Engagement with PlanRVA
PlanRVA was awarded a grant from the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond to develop their internal capacity for improved community engagement and to put equity at the center of future outreach activities and decisions. To meet these needs, Avid Core, in partnership with Kearns and West, was brought on to develop PlanRVA’s first comprehensive community engagement strategy and implementation plan. Our final strategy was recognized as a Platinum award winner by the 2021 MarCom Awards.
Avid Core’s data-driven approach included a detailed assessment that highlighted several areas for improvement, including:
- PlanRVA, formerly known as the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, has largely been a hidden presence in the nine localities it serves. PlanRVA didn’t have a bad reputation; they had no reputation.
- Information on stakeholders currently being reached was limited or nonexistent.
- PlanRVA staff and budget were already at capacity and more resources would be key to any implementation.
Using the information gathered, Avid Core created a comprehensive strategy that outlined a set of concrete, measurable goals, identified key stakeholder groups and messages for each, prioritized communications and outreach tactics for achieving the new goals, and defined roles and responsibilities for practical implementation.
Implementation is in its early phases, but the new strategy has already allowed PlanRVA to successfully lobby for a budget increase and to gain approval from its Board of Commissioners for the creation of a new Community Engagement Manager position.
Avid Core’s approach included a series of interviews with representatives from key stakeholder groups, providing a foundation for new community partnerships to expand PlanRVA’s reach and impact with historically underserved populations including Tribes in the region and minority-owned businesses. The final strategy provides PlanRVA with a framework for the future that prioritizes inclusive community engagement efforts, both internally and externally.