If you read our last post in this special series about Attracting New Supporters, we talked about the Community Engagement Model. This model is going to help us engage the hundreds of new supporters we are going to attract.

I mentioned in the last post that I developed this model with a friend and colleague, Dave Shavel. Dave works in drug and alcohol prevention and is as knowledgeable and passionate as anyone I have met in the field. I once told Dave that to be more successful, coalitions needed better marketing. Dave responded that marketing alone could not create a healthy environment for youth.

This started a debate that turned into a collaboration between the two of us. What we have learned over the last couple of years working on this model is that great marketing can bring new supporters and members into a coalition but, for them to be more than passive supporters, they have to be engaged in the coalition’s work. We will get into these concepts soon but first, let’s go over the levels of the model.

General Public

This is the entire population of your community. Everyone that lives, works or plays within your community is the General Public.

Interested Population

The Interested Population is made up of what I like to call, people that have “skin in the game”. These are parents, educators and other stakeholders in the community that have a vested interest in the efforts of the coalition.


Supporters are aware of the coalition’s work and are in agreement with the coalition’s efforts. Supporters are typically passively engaged with the coalition. In the outreach campaigns that we work on with coalitions, we track supporters by two metrics: subscribers to the monthly newsletter and followers on social media.

Call Me Members

Call Me Members want to be, or have previously been, involved. They do not have the time to commit to being a regular member, but can be called upon annually to help out the coalition. These members know how important the coalition’s work is and they believe in it but lack the time to be more involved.

Active Members

These are volunteers that are involved by regularly attending meetings and events and doing the work of the coalition.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee Members are the dedicated group running and leading the organization.



Keep in mind that this model was created for the purpose of youth alcohol and other dangerous drugs prevention, but can be applied to many public health and prevention efforts.

In my experience working with coalitions, when the coalition needs a volunteer or support, many times they go to the same small well of volunteers they always go to. This limits the capacity of the organization and the work it can do. It is imperative for coalitions to build a pipeline of new people coming into the organization. Converting people from Interested Population to Supporter is critical to making this happen. Once someone is already a supporter, they are much more likely to become an active member of the coalition.

Now that you are familiar with the Community Engagement Model, next week we will look at how we attract new Supporters.

Kris Martin

Kris has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and advertising with a focus on communication strategy for youth and young adults. In those 15 years, Kris has studied how young people communicate, consume information and make decisions.

3 Responses to Digital Prevention – The Community Engagement Model
  1. Great work! I appreciate your willingness to share in a thoughtful but concise manner. It works for those just entering the field of prevention as well as those on the tail end of their careers. I will stay tuned for more advice and helpful information. Many Thanks

    • We’re so happy you found it helpful! Keep an eye out for more information just like this! Are there any topics you’d like us to cover specifically?

  2. […] week, in our special report on building capacity for your community coalition, we went over the Community Engagement Model and the different ways we can classify and engage new members and supporters. This week, I want to […]


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