Checklist for Holding A
Successful Grassroots Empowerment Meeting
Select a location that:
familiar and accessible.
accessible to persons with disabilities.
large enough space for all who might attend.
smaller rooms for break-out groups.
visible, adequate parking.
Select a time that:
convenient to most people _ usually early evening.
not conflict with other group meetings.
Set up the location, and provide:
directions to the site and specific rooms.
or tables configured to make people comfortable.
child care if possible.
sheet, including phone numbers to keep track of everyone who attends.
or copies of materials available to all participants.
or loudspeakers to ensure that everyone can hear.
record the meeting.
Ensure good turn-out for your meeting by:
other community groups about the meeting.
a meeting notice in the local paper either on a community bulletin board or
a paid advertisement.
your local radio station(s) to make a public service announcement.
notices in common locations.
your schools to distribute a flyer to students and parents.
team members responsible for bringing others to the meeting.
people to remind them to come.
Set the process up to succeed:
a clear agenda and goals to accomplish.
an experienced facilitator(s) to lead discussion.
an agenda that people can keep.
2. Use ACD
NAC’s current handouts.
Rules For Conducting Empowerment Surveys
Rule 1: Determine the Size and
Scope of The Survey
The sample size
for the survey depends largely on what you intend to do with the information. Be scientific for a definitive view of positions
on an issue, or for information to be released to the public. If you want to get valid information for key subgroups, such
as women vs. men or young vs. older citizens, be sure your sample group is large enough. For groups of about 400 people, survey
about 150 from the subgroup; for 1,000 to 1,500, survey 250, increasing the number by 5 for each additional 100 people.
Rule 2: Choose
a Representative Sample of the Population - In most communities it will not be possible to survey every single person.
If the survey is to provide results that are generalizable to the entire community, every person in the community must have
the same probability of being chosen to answer the survey. For a large community, use a random sampling by calling every 10
th, 20th, or 30th name in the telephone book.
Rule 3: Choose
the Best Way to Collect the Information - Surveys can be conducted over the telephone or through the mail. A mailed questionnaire
costs less and is far easier to conduct, though the number of people who respond is significantly lower and the results are
not as reliable as phone surveys. Aim for a response rate of at least 50%. Getting this response level may require follow-up
reminders. The response rate is also affected by, among other things, the length of the questionnaire, the ease of filling
it out and returning it, the clarity of the questions, and the reasons given for responding.
Rule 4: Develop
a Useful Questionnaire - The questions in a valid survey must be worded so that the answers are really meaningful. Questions
should be pretested on a small group _ such as friends or family _ to see if readers understand what the writers meant to ask. Unclear questions can yield worthless responses.
also invalidates results, so emotionally loaded or slanted questions should be strictly avoided. It may be difficult to ask
neutral questions _ especially when you have strong feelings on the topic _ but that is the only way to get valid information.
also must be worded to elicit a response to one idea _ combining more than one thought in a question makes it unclear as to
which thought the person is responding to. In addition to clarity and neutrality, question-writers must also consider how
the answers to question will be tabulated. Responses to totally open-ended questions _ such as, “What do you think about
think about Black America’s economic condition and position?” _ can be time-consuming and difficult to categorize
and assess. Instead, use questions with a choice of answers and ask the reader to check one, or ask for numbered levels of
agreement/disagreement “where 1 is strongly agree and 5 is strongly disagree.”
Rule 5: Execute
and Spread the Word! Once your survey is complete, use the media to publicize the findings and other techniques. Without
publicity and interpersonal communications, your valuable information might be overlooked and have a negligible impact. Make
sure to preface your results with information about your methodology and sampling pool. Hold meetings to discuss the results
of the survey and to plan follow-up actions.
Empowerment Survey Tips
people why you want the information. Level with respondents about why you are asking their opinions and what use you intend
to make of the answers. Explain your reasons for the survey in a letter accompanying the questionnaire.
ask too many questions. Long, involved surveys get dropped in the wastebasket. Especially in your initial efforts, ten simple
questions should be plenty. Limit questions to one subject each.
it easy. Give simple directions and provide for simple responses, such as checking boxes or filling in spaces. Make sure the
questionnaire is easy to read. Use plain type, a duplicating process that produces sharp copies, and a layout that leaves
enough space between questions. Underline key words.
the survey. Let community members know that you are planning to conduct a survey and stress that its purpose is to get input
from people on improving education.
it easy to return. Provide an addressed, postage-paid envelope along with the questionnaire.