Rule 4 — Do not focus only on third party groups for support: Rule 5 — Be transparent: The last outcome you want is for your public affairs campaign to become a public relations nightmare. Just as projects have engineers, lawyers, scientists, etc. Be open about your outreach.
Overcoming NIMBY Opposition | GCA Strategies
These rules are just the beginning steps of a successful campaign. However, with these rules, companies will have a good start and a solid foundation of a grassroots campaign. Campaign should be customized according to different subject, size of population and the length of the entitlement process. Do not just rely on grassroots support, also make sure you are making the rounds with key stakeholders, business leaders, and civic leaders.
If the developers or companies follow the rules above and make sure to send the right message out correctly and effectively, the chance of having project opponents in the way of the projects would be greatly reduced. Click to view the published article. Dulcify — your opponent may try to appease or pacify your group, or people who are undecided about the issue, through offers of jobs, services, and other benefits.
Destroy — your opponents may try to destabilize or eliminate your group through legal, economic, or scare tactics.
Deal — your opponent may decide to avoid conflict by offering a deal, working with your group towards a mutually acceptable solution. Surrender — the opposition may agree to your demands. If this is the case, you should remember that the victory is not complete until the opposition follows through with its promises. Dealing with opposition Wadud provides a list of techniques for responding to opposition: Meet with your opponent — Discuss your differences, it could be the opposition is caused by miscommunication or a lack of understanding about the issue.
Develop win-win solutions — You can focus on a solution that meets both of your shared interests. Turn negatives into positives — Often times, what may at first be seen as a negative situation can be used to your advantage.
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Similarly, if you can trick your opponent into wrongly guessing your intentions, it also gives you an advantage in keeping your opponent off-balance. Knowing that credible community leaders already approve of a proposal makes it easier for others to extend their support. And once a strong group of supporters are on hand to back them up, responsible leaders will be more willing to do the right thing by endorsing the project.
Without that initial support, for example, there is little likelihood that a chief of police or other public safety officials will wager their reputation by going on record with their enthusiasm for quality public housing. Resist that impulse and contact potential supporters first. Once third party allies have been lined up, there will be enough time to contact those more likely to oppose the project than not. Recruitment of supporters alone is insufficient. The most effective community relations program in the world is worthless if public opinion leaders and decision-makers are unaware of public support.
Here are two ways to convince city hall that the public supports a project:.
Public opposition to projects can be overcome with strong grassroots campaigns
Citizens can communicate their support directly, such as through letters, emails, personal testimony at hearings, post cards, petitions, phone calls, or meetings with city council members. Citizens can express their support through the media, through letters to the editor, blogs, social media, opinion articles, talk shows, etc. Both these means of publicly communicating support should occur later in the planning process, beginning immediately before or sometimes after the commencement of outreach designed to minimize opposition.
What is needed early on is recruitment of supporters, not mobilization. Recruitment consists of securing commitments to back a project, generally in writing from individuals or by vote of organizations. It can be as simple as a signature on a petition or endorsement card, or a letter held by the project sponsor until the right time comes to disseminate it.
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After outreach to and recruitment of supporters is well underway, it is time to begin outreach to opponents. Minimizing opposition is largely a matter of fully understanding its root causes, which usually fall into four categories: The type and intensity of outreach efforts needed to defuse opposition largely depends on which causes are at play. For example, public information campaigns can certainly be helpful in minimizing opposition based on misinformation. But widespread dissemination of accurate information through such campaigns may be counterproductive if the primary root cause of opposition is not based on misperception of the facts.
As we will see, such tactics can actually stir up opponents if their opposition is based on emotional needs. For example, neighbors may believe that a major project will be built without transportation mitigations, thus significantly increasing traffic. This is the type of opposition that is the simplest to deal with and overcome, by simply making sure that the actual facts are presented in a clear manner through a public information campaign.
Project sponsors can sometimes depend on extensive one-way communication mechanisms, i. This approach allows full control of the message and enables quick responses to misinformation. Project materials should include simple graphics in order to focus citizen attention on the relevant facts and figures needed in order to make informed decisions. In the case cited above, clear graphics that show plans to add highway lanes would help minimize fears of added traffic.
However, just providing correct information in an impersonal fashion is often not a magic pill to deal with all resistance.
Pick the low-hanging fruit first
No matter how authentic the intention of government or project sponsors to inform the public about the project, it is critical to hear from the citizens themselves and listen to their fears, concerns and suggestions. This is particularly true when feathers have already been ruffled by emotionally-charged misinformation. Interactive or two-way communications are preferred in this situation, or when the complexity of the issue requires a detailed explanation.
Opposition from community activists often may have little to do with the actual project itself. Some people who view themselves as community leaders become involved in land use disputes simply to validate their community leadership role and to feel like a pivotal part of the decision-making process. They expect to be consulted, and any failure to acknowledge their status seems to confirm that municipal government intends to run roughshod over community concerns. Receiving a glossy brochure in the mail would only fan the flames with such individuals who believe their special status should be recognized by personal interaction.
Going over plans for the project with Mr. Jones in their living room is far less costly than paying for major mitigation measures, or years of delay. Again, personal interaction is preferred in this situation, with one-on-one or small group meetings preferred. The same principle may apply to proximate neighbors of a proposed facility who want recognition from local government that they are most impacted by the project. They may demand respect by lashing out at those who fail to seek their advice and counsel first.
If the number of adjacent households is small, it is advisable for project sponsors to canvass door-to-door on a weekend to meet the neighbors face-to-face. If the project sponsor is likeable and is a good listener, the results are often surprisingly positive.
Treating such proximate neighbors and community leaders deferentially can sometimes secure their support simply because the project sponsor has personally asked for their help and insight.
Often, community leaders may believe this support will gain them a bandbox for public recognition or deepen their ties with city hall. Unless required by law or local government regulations, avoid conducting public participation in the form of mass meetings. The least appropriate communication mechanism is the large informational meeting format in which local government authorities and project sponsors opponents stand up at the podium and dispense information.