Launched in 2019, ComEngage is built on Northwest Research Group’s 30 plus years of experience in public sector research. I’m the newest member of the team, though I have over 20 years of wide-ranging experience in the field. Based on that experience, two key elements of the ComEngage business model appealed to me most strongly from the outset:
- Fostering greater equity and inclusion of traditionally underrepresented voices within the community – ComEngage works to continually improve in each of the four major aspects of equitable and inclusive community engagement:
- Access – language and technology
- Recruitment – outreach
- Content – cultural relevance
- User experience – security and confidence
- Offering the best technology platform in the public sector community engagement market –
- A powerful data collection platform that is mobile-friendly, highly customizable, accessible, multilingual, and incorporates advanced analytics.
- Full transparency throughout the data collection and reporting process. Clients always have an open window into their project.
- Community platforms that facilitate a wide range of options, from focus groups and qualitative work to longitudinal mixed studies.
- A user-friendly dashboard that provides the data and analytical tools to the end-user in a sharable format.
As we collectively work to get through the COVID crisis and understand the new normal, everything about how we conduct community research and engage with our communities should be questioned. Neither your approach to that process nor that of your vendors should be frozen in time. You and your community need an approach that meets the moment.
Walking the walk of equity and inclusion
When it comes to equity and inclusion, many firms talk the talk, saying all the right things on their website, but do they walk the walk?
My wife teaches 1st grade in a Title I school – her students come from diverse backgrounds, some living in challenging circumstances. In an attempt to impress her, I recently shared something that I wrote to one of our consulting partners, “We focus on the equity lens and innovative technology because that is what the moment demands.”
Without blinking, she responded, “No, because it’s the right thing to do.”
She’s correct, of course (as usual), but there are any number of constraints – time, budgets, resistance to change, etc. – that can stand in the way of doing the “right” thing. ComEngage can proudly stand up and say that: a) it recognized the need for greater inclusiveness in public sector research well before it became the hottest buzzword, and b) it has a significant head start in the ongoing process of refining its methods and honing the equity lens.
That’s where “Walk the Walk” comes in.
For us, it means that we take the inclusion of those traditionally underrepresented very seriously, we are very good at it already, and we continually learn how to be even better in all aspects.
Who am I?
At this writing, I am well into my fourth month as Client Relationship Manager for ComEngage. Traditional business development (BD) outreach is a large part of my job, but I am NOT an annoying sales guy. I focus on matching your needs with the best research and engagement strategy. I’m excited to work with ComEngage to build its business because I believe strongly that its focus is the leading edge in my profession and that it’s the right way to do the work.
What is my goal?
I called you on the phone. Maybe we talked for a few minutes. Perhaps I left a voicemail. I sent you an email or two. Each time, I asked for a meeting. What does that mean, and what do I hope to accomplish?
ComEngage does not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach and will not ask you to sit through a generic PowerPoint presentation. We listen and ask questions first. Then we speak directly to your needs and interests.
We take the time to get to know you – What are your needs and objectives, and how can research help you accomplish them? What is your current approach to community engagement, and how well is it working for you? How could it be improved?
Then, when you issue an RFP or are putting together a consulting team to respond to an RFP, we are not strangers to you, and you will find it easier to have confidence in selecting us as your vendor or partner.
From there, we’ll take it upon ourselves to continually exceed your expectations as a valued partner in serving the community.
Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts on this topic and others. We have some content and thought leadership we are ready to share.