Public Involvement | SERVICES
Normandeau's Public Involvement team packs a hefty toolbox of talents and services based on years of practical, real-world experience on projects large and small. We understand the many steps that lead from project conception to a successful outcome and approach each step with care and diligence. We work closely with our clients to understand what they need and how we can help achieve their goals. We assess the issues, players, and resources and assemble the strategies and tools to get the job done. The service areas and skill sets at which we excel are listed below.
We identify the stakeholders, issues, landmines, and resources. We then build the messages, tools, formats, and timelines. We craft the action plans that deliver successful outcomes for both clients and communities.
Strategic communication means developing a communications plan of action that will get the right message to the right people and encourage further dialogue to help inform decisions. Strategic communication is a two-way street where listening to the message coming back is equally important and influences the timing and style of the response.
Normandeau Associates excels at this. We know the audience. We craft the message. And most importantly, we listen. We listen to the needs and goals of the client and understand the demands and dynamics of the community and stakeholders.
"Strategy" can be defined as a long-term plan of action to achieve a specific goal. Strategic planning means working with the client to define that goal, identify issues, assess the resources available, measure community sentiment, provide counsel on a recommended course of action, and implement for success. Stakeholders who may hold varying interests and agendas must be considered and differences resolved.
Normandeau's public involvement team combines political savvy, deep knowledge of the communities we serve, technical expertise, and years of experience into a formidable strategic planning portfolio. Collaboration, respect for stakeholders, attention to detail, and rock-solid integrity are the hallmarks of our approach. We have applied this experience to large- and small-scale public projects and processes ranging from transportation and environmental assessment to community development.
On many community-based projects, government and agency staff are usually responsible for day-to-day project operations while elected officials make the policy and funding decisions that shape and define the projects. Normandeau staff have many years experience working with federal, state, and local elected officials. We understand that information is key to helping them do their jobs, to understanding the issues, and being tuned in to voices in the community. We can provide the important link between project staff, stakeholders, and officials, makings sure everyone is on the same page with the information necessary for a successful outcome.
With some projects the organization chart can be a mix of agencies, jurisdictions, and contractors with lines of authority and decision interweaving and overlapping. Normandeau is adept at identifying who needs to be on the chart and coordinating the connections among the various players. Clients depend on us to be the common source of communication, information, counsel, and team building. We make sure that everyone is engaged in the conversation and that everyone is working from the same blueprint and toward the same goal.
We like to think that all of our work, regardless of the project, falls under the banner of community development. Perhaps that's why we're in this business. We value communities, the benefits our work brings to them, and the opportunity to actively and effectively engage people in the decision-making process. On projects ranging from downtown revitalization to affordable housing, we use our tools and know-how to bring people together in a collaborative process to exchange ideas and opinions, work through issues, share information, craft visions, and achieve goals. We understand the processes of policy development, funding, design, and consensus building. We foster conversations, articulate challenges and goals, mediate between diverse interests, and develop success-oriented strategies for community improvement opportunities of all sizes.
Normandeau is experienced in working on both sides of policy - implementing policies and developing policies. Successful policy development depends on being able to technically articulate visions, guidelines, and standards so that communities and organizations have a framework in which they can work and develop. Normandeau works with clients to identify needs, stakeholders and the policies needed to implement consensus visions. We are familiar with jurisdictional protocol to ensure the appropriate consideration and exposure is given to developing and completed policy.
From groundbreakings to expositions, Normandeau has the experience to create, plan, organize, and implement events of every size and nature. Normandeau can develop the vision from the ground up or implement the client's vision. As appropriate for the particular event, we will book the facility; alert the media, target audience, and specific stakeholders through advertising, web sites, and other communication channels; arrange for refreshments or catering; staff and facilitate the event; and follow up on action items and summary reports. We can book guest speakers, coordinate a ticket-purchasing system, solicit sponsors, arrange for specialized audio/visual services, and attend to the countless details large and small that define a successful event.
While every business meeting should have an agenda, every public meeting, regardless of size, should have a facilitator. Normandeau's gifted facilitators frame the structure and goals of a meeting, provide project information and context, engage participants in the discussion, keep the discussion on topic, and ensure that all voices and opinions are heard in an atmosphere of respect and fairness. Particularly for projects with diverse constituents or complex issues, effective facilitation can be a proactive tool to identify and resolve problems or concerns early in the process, ensure stakeholder by-in, and keep the project on schedule.
We have a deep portfolio coordinating and facilitating public workshops, forums, and hearings; neighborhood meetings; and advisory committees. We create the setting and context for stakeholders to exchange ideas in a non-threatening, non-emotional atmosphere. However, some issues defy easy resolution. To a certain point in the conversation, we can provide non-certified mediation services. For situations that may require a certified mediator, Normandeau has resources and knowledge for contracting professional mediation services.
Effective stakeholder relations and communications are crucial to a successful project outcome. We help establish that important link between voices and interests of the community and the project team. We identify the key stakeholders and coordinate every interaction through the life of a project. We write the letters, make the phone calls, visit stakeholders in person, coordinate and facilitate stakeholder meetings, serve as their information resource, mediate issues, and document every step of the process. Some projects require stakeholder interviews: we develop the questions, conduct the interviews, process the answers, and produce a detailed summary report that coalesces stakeholder perspectives, issues, and concerns into an indispensable project roadmap and resource.
Public involvement is defined by bringing people together and, very often, this is accomplished in the literal sense through meeting coordination. Normandeau has extensive experience planning and coordinating meetings ranging in size from two people or two hundred or more. They can take the form of "kitchen table" meetings involving a few neighbors, advisory committee meetings involving a score of key stakeholders, or open houses for an entire community. We consult with the client on the purpose, goals, and approach for the meeting; coordinate the location; publicize the event; develop the agenda; design the exhibits; arrange for refreshments; staff the event; and handle set-up, tear-down, follow through, and every other detail that defines a successful meeting.
Ideas, information, and messages are best shared and understood when presented in an eye-pleasing, easy-to-follow format. Normandeau combines substance with style to produce newsletters, newspaper advertisements, meeting exhibits, and any variety of media to inform and connect people with a project. We have years of experience with a deep portfolio of results-proven products; are equally adept at industry-standard software, the camera, and the x-acto knife; and can shepherd a project through every stage of production. Beyond choosing the fonts and paper, developing the color palette, creating and formatting the images, and crafting the page, we plan the production schedule, work with the printer to produce a quality project at the most reasonable cost, and recommend the best channels for distribution. We develop mailing databases, coordinate mail house services, schedule ad placement in newspapers, and attend to every task needed to complete the vital link between project facts and project audience in a creative, effective manner.
Words matter, and we love working with them. They convey information, target messages, and ensure understanding. We view the written word as an art. Carefully chosen words form clear and polished sentences which combine into compelling and informative paragraphs, stories, and documents. We have a deep background as writers, editors, and journalists. Every medium is our canvas: newsletters, news releases, speeches, advertising, exhibits, PowerPoints, talking points, editorials, reports, and more. We understand the power and importance of words. We embrace the values of integrity and honesty in how we use those words. And we have the talent to craft words into clear, forthright forms that help achieve the goals of our clients while respecting the perspectives of our readers.
We live in a "www" world and Normandeau has the skills and experience to apply the power of the internet to any public involvement campaign. Our staff starts with a strong foundation in web fundamentals, handcrafting HTML, ASP, and CSS and working with ISPs for problem-free site hosting and management. We work with our clients to plan, develop, and maintain custom web sites that are elegant and informative. We can incorporate interactive surveys and databases into powerful online tools. Or, we can keep it simple; whatever the project requires. We can also set up a content management system, allowing client staff to easily maintain the web sites we create. For clients who already have a web site, we can work with your staff to develop content for a project-specific page, monitor the page on a regular basis, and provide updates and new content through the life cycle of the project. Beyond the browser, we can develop email blasts and newsletters, delivering targeted messages directly to the inboxes of stakeholder and target-audiences.
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