Community engagement events are public affairs activities that support the relationship between military and civilian communities. These events aim to increase the public's understanding of the Department of Defense's mission and the U.S. defense posture by increasing exposure to military personnel, facilities, equipment and programs.
Types of Engagements
There are two types of community engagements: proactive and reactive. Proactive engagements are activities or programs that bring together DoD personnel with a community. These engagements can be planned months in advance.
Proactive engagements increase the likelihood of connecting community members who may have had little interest or knowledge of an installation's mission. They are opportunities to educate, grow trust and credibility and increase support for quality of life programs, which benefit service members and their families.
- Open houses and airshows
- Band outreach tours
- Base tour programs
- Reading programs with local schools
- Volunteer events
- Outreach with local colleges
- Biannual mayor’s lunches with the commander
- Fleet Week or service-specific programs, such as Marine Week Charlotte
- Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day ceremonies
- Community days or fairs
- Sports events/military tribute
Reactive engagements occur when a unit receives a request to participate in a community event. Plan for these pop-up events just like proactive engagements. The invitation may require a legal review to determine its acceptability.
These activities and events may include reoccurring events your organization has been invited to and participated in many times.
- Town hall to address an issue like water contamination
- Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) announcements
- Speaking requests
- Civilian air shows
- Volunteer events
- School programs
- Chamber of Commerce events
- Veteran’s organization events
Reactive engagements aren't always foreseeable. Keep them in mind during planning to ensure funding and resources are available.
Regardless of the type of engagement, there are many decisions to make. Use the following considerations to determine and plan the right programming for your unit.
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Perform an Engagement Assessment