Community engagement is one of those terms that can mean different things to different people, depending on the issue, the activity, the community or the organisation.
It brings together ideas of consultation, participation, collaboration and empowerment and involves building inclusive, trusted long-term relationships with communities to create a thriving cohesive democratic society.
Community media is particularly good at creating opportunities for greater participation and engagement. It’s deep in the community media DNA. This was especially highlighted in 2020 with stations supporting their communities during the pandemic to ensure people stayed connected and informed. And they still are.
Community engagement, CBF grants and your application
So, what do we mean by community engagement? And what does this look like in a COVID-normal context?
Importantly, it is the core business of your organisation and the reason we include it in our Development & Operations grants.
So if you’re applying for a Development & Operations grant, we ask you to consider:
- What will you continue to do to engage with your community?
- What new things would you like to do to engage with your community?
As part of your community broadcasting licence, you’re required to encourage members of your community to get involved at your station. This means engaging the diverse members of your community to ensure you’re representing the diverse voices of your community on air. Examples of community engagement may include activities such as establishing or reviewing your Diversity Policy, outside broadcasts or training for new volunteers.
As many continue to manage the effects of a pandemic on the community media sector, we’re also keen to hear how your organisation has tracked the health and wellbeing of your staff and volunteers. At a time when face-to-face engagement with your community may be challenging, tell us how you have continued to connect and check-in with presenters who are broadcasting remotely, staff working-from-home or volunteers who have no longer been able to come into the station. Think about what your plans are for the next year in terms of bringing volunteers back into the station while still adhering to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols. How have you changed your approach to volunteer engagement?
Community engagement also refers to engaging with community media audiences. We know that loss of sponsorship has significantly impacted on stations during COVID-19. However, research also indicates that during the pandemic, more people are discovering and engaging with their local community media organisations. We want you to tell us about the ways your organisation has continued to reach out to sponsors, members, subscribers and listeners this past year and what you are planning for the future.
Here’s some more information about a new approach to community engagement that takes into account the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on volunteers and volunteering involving organisations. Topics include how to manage organisational risk, virtual volunteering and volunteer mental health and wellbeing during the current crisis.
- Information for Volunteer Involving Organisations – Volunteering Australia
- Volunteer Managers & COVID-19 – Volunteering Victoria
- Re-engage, re-invigorate and re-imagine: The future of volunteering – Probono Australia webinar pack available for purchase
Ready to apply for a Development & Operations grant?
Apply for a Development & Operation grant using our online form which also includes information about the grant, guidelines and resources to help you prepare your application. But leave it too long – our second round 2021/22 grants are closing Tuesday 17 August at 2pm (AEST).
Need help with your grant application?
Get in touch with our Grant Support Team – they are always happy to answer your questions and provide advice on your project idea and what you should include in your application before you submit. The earlier you do this, the better!
Photo: Happy FM out in the community on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.