Engaging a Participant Advisory Council for social impact organizations

A Participant Advisory Council is a group of beneficiaries and community members who can advise on social impact programs and services meant for them. They can be a great resource throughout the entire lifecycle of your program. They will have valuable insight and can share context regarding their challenges. They can also participate in ideation sessions, review early prototypes and advise on improvements. Their feedback will give you valuable cues regarding how to best evolve programs.

Questions to consider as you get started…

  • How will you gain informed consent from participants?
  • How can you ensure inclusive representation across different groups (e.g. age, gender, race, status in the community, etc.)?
  • Is this volunteer work? Could/should it be paid?
  • Will the council stay together through the program lifecycle?
  • What will be the structure of meetings? Who will facilitate?
  • How can you set up collaborative governance between your organization and participants to mitigate power imbalances?

How might a participant advisory council help your organization accomplish its goals?

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