Tools for engaging the community

This tool offers you advice on tools how to engage the community:

  • Engage through Fun Activities
  • Use social support and social pressure
  • Make sure everyone 'does their bit'
  • Use peer-to-peer communications
  • Engage stakeholders

Click in the headlines below to read more about the tools, that are relevant for you.

There are basically three types of reasons why people would engage with your project:
1. self-interested or safety-related motives (like saving money or caring for the family)
2. social motives (like belonging to a group or being respected by others)
3. moral or self-actualizing motives (like saving the environment or solving problems)

Social influence is important in changing energy use patterns, since energy use is influenced by norms and social conventions. People also learn many behaviours directly by copying (modelling) others . Social support is important for many reasons: it can provide ‘moral support’ and reinforce commitment, but it can also provide practical ‘how to support’ through peer-to-peer advice. Social pressure is the opposite side of the coin.

Individuals can feel helpless in the face of big problems like climate change, unless everybody contributes to solving them. People do not want to make useless sacrifices, but want to see that their efforts are making a difference.

The key issue here is that your target groups need to know that others are ‘doing their bit’ or ‘pulling their weight’ and that people are working together to solve a common problem.

People are often not so engaged by advice that comes from ‘above’, such as the government. General advice needs to be adapted to particular contexts. It is easier to engage energy end-users when bringing the information very close to their everyday lives.

Individuals may find it difficult to change if their environment does not support the change. Durable change requires a larger change in the social and technical organisation of everyday life. Small projects cannot change their end-users' entire environment, but they can engage the relevant stakeholders and ‘gatekeepers', such as service providers, facility managers or retailers.