Steps for Choosing Effective Outreach Techniques
1. Describe the environmental concern or opportunity.
2. Identify preliminary target audience(s).
3. Determine specific actions citizens need to take to accomplish your management goal.
4. Collect audience information relevant to the environmental practices and specific behaviors.
5. Assess potential for adoption of single behaviors and the environmental practice.
6. Select single behaviors for intervention focus.
7. Select intervention technique(s).
Step 7. Select intervention technique(s)
For a larger version of this image, along with a detailed explanation, see Changing Public Behavior: Behavior Change Theories and Techniques
Whether the goal is to increase citizen involvement or to transform individual or group actions, there are many techniques that have potential for leading to a change in behavior as part of an outreach initiative. Any specific technique is likely to be more effective in some situations than in others. Making this choice is the art of education. Include an experienced educator in the team that decides which techniques are more likely to address the needs you identified in the assessment process.
In Steps 1 – 5 you assessed behavior needs and audience skills related to your particular topic.
In Step 6 you identified specific behaviors for the focus of your outreach initiative.
In Step 7 you apply what you’ve learned to design an outreach strategy that is likely to produce the result you hope to achieve. Do you need to provide information or skills, encourage a change of behavior, raise awareness, or encourage participation in solving a problem? [Background: What do citizens need to do?]
How do you get from the need you have identified to the outcomes you hope for?
Plan walks you through a process to design and implement an outreach initiative that is most likely to result in a predictable and measurable outcome.
Choosing a technique: Check to make sure that the techniques you select will address any skill or performance deficits you identified in Step 3 and confirmed in Step 4.
Developing a strategy: Short term or long term change? Consider whether you want to focus on an immediate problem or specific behavior, or whether you want to look towards a long term, sustainable result, or both. You may want to create an outreach strategy that offers a combination of techniques applied at various stages of an initiative.
A continuum of choices: Deciding whether to focus on a short-term, specific-behavior change or something more permanent requires that you integrate an understanding about how people learn and change into your thinking about what you want to do. There is no one right answer, but a continuum of choices.
Monitor and evaluate: Evaluation helps you reflect on a program, make changes in it, and make decisions about it.
References for Step 7
Content for this section is identified on Water Outreach Web pages linked here, as well as:
Andrews, E., Stevens, M., & Wise, G. (2002). A model of community-based environmental education. Chapter 10 in New Tools for Environmental Protection: Education, Information, and Voluntary Measures. National Research Council Division of Behavior and Social Sciences and Education: Committee on the Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, Thomas Dietz and Paul C. Stern, editors. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Booth, E. M. (1996). Starting with behavior: A participatory process for selecting target behaviors in environmental programs. Washington, DC: GreenCOM, Academy for Educational Development, 1255 23rd St., NW.
Beyers, B. (2000). Understanding and Influencing Behaviors. A Guide. Washington, D.C.: Biodiversity Support Program, c/o World Wildlife Fund.
De Young, R. (1993). Changing behavior and making it stick: The conceptualization and management of conservation behavior. Environment and Behavior, 25(4), 485-505.
Dwyer, W. O., Lemming, F. C., Cobern, M. K., Porter, B. E., & Jackson, J. M. (1993). Critical review of behavioral interventions to preserve the environment: Research since 1980. Environment and Behavior, 25(3), 275-321.
Gardner, G. T., & Stern, P. C. (1996). Environmental problems and human behavior. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. p. 159.
McKenzie-Mohr, D. (1995). Promoting a sustainable future: An introduction to community-based social marketing. Ottawa, ON: National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.
Pearce, J. (2006). Organizational Behavior, Real Research for Real Managers: Individuals in Organizations. Irvine, CA: Melvin & Leigh Publishers.
Press, D. & A. Balch. (2002). Community environmental policy capacity and effective environmental protection. Chapter 11 in New Tools for Environmental Protection: Education, Information, and Voluntary Measures. National Research Council Division of Behavior and Social Sciences and Education: Committee on the Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, Thomas Dietz and Paul C. Stern, editors. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.