The following links are recommended by people practicing in the field of community engagement. The content does not necessarily represent the opinions of all the partners. Click here to submit a link to an article you recommend as a resource to help build the field of community engagement.

Resources from Institutes and Nonprofits

Tamarack: An Institute for Community Engagement
On this page you'll find:
Tamarack’s Top 6 Community Engagement Documents
Tamarack’s Growing Understanding of Community Engagement
Examples of Community Engagement

Asset-Based Community Development Institute
The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) is at the center of a large and growing movement that considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Building on the skills of local residents, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of local institutions, asset-based community development draws upon existing community strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future.

Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods
Interviews with John McKnight, Peter Block, etc.

Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation
Resources for resident-centered community building.

Complexity and Community Change: Managing Adaptively to Improve Effectiveness, Aspen Institute, 2014
“The challenges of transforming distressed communities are heightened by the complexity of the problems community change actors address and the complexity of the environments in which they work. Confronted by complexity, actors in the community change field need to respond adaptively to manage effectively. This new publication from the Roundtable applies a complexity lens to place-based community...”

Resident-Centered Community Building: What Makes It Different?, Aspen Institute, 2013
"What is special about resident-centered community building?  Why is there such importance on relationship-building?  This report distills lessons and recommendations from resident activists and locally embedded change agents on how to engage communities in activism and change.  Based on discussions at the 2012 Learning Exchange, co-hosted by the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the Roundtable, the report features strategies for putting residents at the center of neighborhood-based community building."

Ten Lessons for Taking Leadership on Racial Equity, Aspen Institute, 2013
“…Based on our ten years of work in this arena, the document is intended to encourage and suggest strategies to people willing to take up the challenge of promoting racial equity and inclusion. It is also meant to counter the fears, reticence and pessimism of those who believe that race is just too hard of a topic to address. Indeed, our experience shows that, when equipped with the right training and tools, there are many people of all races who become inspirational and effective racial equity leaders…”

Voices from the Field III: Lessons and Challenges from Two Decades of Community Change Efforts, Aspen Institute, 2010
This volume examines the accomplishments of community change efforts over the past two decades and identifies priority issues around which policy, practice, and learning agendas should be organized going forward.

Models of Community EngagementStuart Hashagen, Scottish Community Development Centre, May 2002
This short paper has been prepared to identify and describe the different models of community engagement in community planning…[T]he term engagement warns us against making assumptions about communities: it asks for a dialogue. It also implies that the development of the relationship itself will need to be a focus for attention: ‘government’ will need to engage with communities as well as asking communities to engage with it.”

Resources from Foundations

Community Engagement Resource Guide, RWJ Foundation, 2012
“This resource guide provides information on engaging local residents and other constituents to play meaningful roles in efforts to build healthy, opportunity-rich communities where children and families thrive. The information includes tools and resources to facilitate community engagement, particularly in underserved urban, rural, and suburban areas, in creating and implementing policies and environmental changes to foster physical activity and healthy eating.”

Sustaining Neighborhood Change: The Power of Resident Leadership, Social Networks, and Community Mobilization, Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2009
This guide documents some of the research, lessons, and best practices from the Anne E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections work.

Navigating the Power Dynamics between Institutions and Communities, Kettering Foundation, 2009
“Byron White’s career experiences—as an impartial observer of community building, as an advocate working from within urban communities, and as a catalyst working from the outside—have given him a unique perspective into the dynamics of institutional/ community engagement. As he explains, ‘Basically, they have left me with three overriding convictions. First, the collective work of citizens is essential to any hope of significant, sustained transformation of urban America. Second, institutions can be powerful enablers of such citizen leadership or they can seriously impede it. Third, the determining factor governing which role institutions will play is the nature of the power relationship that is negotiated between citizens and institutions.’ ”

Engaging Citizens: Meeting the Challenges of Community Life, Kettering Foundation, 2006
A working draft Kettering report that shares what the foundation has learned, largely from communities that have been trying to engage their citizens. This report is addressed to communities that are concerned that too many citizens are distant from, perhaps even alienated from, local politics.

Resources on Evaluation of Community Engagement

Impact, Influence, Leverage, and Learning (I2L2) Outcomes Framework, ORS Impact
A resource offered by Tia Bastian at the May Engaged Learning Series event, this document "names and identifies the range of outcomes associated with social impact, crisply defines them, and helps lay the groundwork for effective impact measurement. The framework guides organizations to be both intentional and accountable for advancing robust, durable impact."

Knight Foundation General Assessment Resources and Tools
“We follow evaluation and social impact measurement trends to identify emerging best practices and tools. We have compiled a list of assessment resources…, which includes a mix of Knight and third-party tools, to support our grantees and other nonprofits collect useful information about the effectiveness and impact of their work.”

Social Connectedness and Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, 2012
Publications on the crucial role that social connectedness, a major outcome of community engagement, plays in health. 

Tamarack: An Institute for Community Engagement
Resources on evaluation of community engagement

The Limits of Non-Profit Impact, Center for Evaluation Innovation, 2011
Sherine Jayawickrama of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University offers her analysis of an article that explores when it is appropriate to expect nonprofits to measure their impacts.

Five Domains of Social Connectedness, The Full Frame Initiative, 2011
How social connectedness is crucial to health and wellbeing.

The Benefits of Community Engagement: A Review of the Evidence, 2004
This report from the United Kingdom reviews the evidence for the positive results of community engagement and identifies further work needed to increase and promote understanding of what works.

Other Resources

Places to Intervene in a System, Donella Meadows
"Leverage points are not intuitive. Or if they are, we intuitively use them backward, systematically worsening whatever problems we are trying to solve." Leverage points are those "places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything."

A Ladder of Citizen Participation, Sherry Arnstein
“This article is about power structures in society and how they interact. Specifically it is a guide to seeing who has power when important decisions are being made. It is quite old, but nevertheless of great value to anyone interested in issues of citizen participation. The concepts discussed in this article about 1960's America apply to any hierarchical society but are still mostly unknown, unacknowledged or ignored by many people around the world.”