Task 2: Encourage Participation and Buy-In

Although recognizing prospective planning team members could be a simple task, the real challenge would be to persuade the members to invest their energy and time in the mitigation planning process.

To encourage participation, consider what contribution is expected from the planning team members and how to invite them to participate. If your community opts for updating the existing mitigation plan, things that didn’t work well or worked well in the previous planning process should be considered. Following are some approaches that worked for other communities when recruiting prospective team members:

  • Send a letter of invitation or an email, and follow it up with a phone call. While replying to any questions, stress on why participation is required.
  • A formal invitation signed by the department head, elected official, or the mayor should be sent.
  • Hold the initial meeting at a time and location that is convenient for everyone.
  • To boost attendance, offer food and beverages at meetings.
  • The following list of elected participants describes how they can contribute to the mitigation planning process:

  • Emergency managers: They can communicate directly with the state emergency management agency. They have all the data related to the past hazards and current preparedness measures, and they are the first responders to disasters.
  • Local community planners: They can help the planning team comprehend the relationship between disasters and community development; the actions and policies that affect development; and the past, current, and future trends of the development.
  • Engineering staff/public works: They can help recognize existing or projected problems related to the infrastructure of the community, and with the support of the mitigation plan tackle these issues through capital improvements.
  • GIS specialists: They can support the planning process by analyzing and mapping data. They can also effectively communicate complex information, for example, assets location in the hazard-prone regions and damage estimates associated with a particular disaster.
  • Floodplain administrators: They can provide data on the floodplain regulation, flood hazard maps, and recurring loss properties related to your community. They can also suggest actions to reduce flood losses and continue compliance with the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program).
  • Executive/ Elected officials: They are aware of the community altogether and can effectively communicate how the hazard plan will support other goals of your community including social, economic, or environmental.
  • Federal and State partners: They can provide available information, figure out how to recognize and leverage resources across different organizations, and acknowledge Federal and State programs with related tasks.
  • If the planning team is associated with some authorized officials throughout the mitigation planning process, the hazard plan of your community can be more successful. The selected planning team can acquire official recognition in the form of an MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) or a council resolution. This demonstrates the commitment to the planning process, exhibits community support, and increases the possibility that the mitigation actions will be executed effectively. For an example of MOA, see Worksheet 1.2.