DEFINING THE COMMUNITY
The first step is to define your community and population.
Have you got an idea of your target population and how you might define the community you are interested in?
Have you identified existing networks that you can tap into?
Do you have people who are keen to get involved?
You’ll find developing and implementing your social norms project easier if your answers to these questions are ‘yes’ as building a shared understanding with people from the community will make it more likely that they will identify with and feel a sense of ownership of the campaign.
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TESTING THE DEFINITION
It is important to test if your definition of what you believe is a community is both correct and feasible. Go out and test the boundary on the ground. Talk to community members and listen to the language they use to describe their community. Ask if some members of the community are available to walk with you and have a conversation about their impressions of where the community is.
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REFINING THE DEFINITION
Before continuing with your project update your definition of community.
Work with a realistic physical environment using the support networks that exist.
You should now have:
- A map of your area and community
- Resources identified including help on the ground
- Knowledge of language and terminology used in the community
- A list of community hubs, events, high-footfall areas and awareness precautions to be taken to ensure the health and safety of project and community members
Now that you have a clearly defined definition of the community you can begin planning your data capture.
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IDENTIFY LOCAL FACILITATORS
It is really important to identify significant people that can enable and facilitate your work with the community. As one community put it “find the people with the biggest mouths and the most friends”.
Without these people the project can still happen but it is unlikely to be as successful as it could be.
You will need someone who belongs to the community and is embedded in the life of the community. If you are struggling to know where to find such a person then organising and advertising events such as ideas sessions and focus groups can facilitate the discovery of hidden assets.
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DECIDE HOW THE COMMUNITY WILL GET INVOLVED
Think of those community members who are involved in the projectas ambassadors of ideas. Community involvement does not mean the community needs to do. The community’s enthusiasm and energy for your project is a great asset – find ways of optimising this.
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Intervention development needs input from those experienced in developing social norms approach interventions.
Involve the community in the process of deciding what the message is, how it will be delivered and when it’ll happen. This process is what excites and enthuses community members – it’s the ‘this’ they’ve been waiting for.
Decide on a key message (remember this is a social norms campaign)
Recycling of materials from elsewhere can work – but remember to tailor and personalise for your community
Use events to get your message across in innovative ways and optimise opportunities to reach lots of community members at the same time.
Development and delivery requires time – time to plan, time to diversify message delivery, time for people to see and engage with the message.
WHAT IS THE KEY MESSAGE?
Focus on the message, deliver the message and be fun. Try to be sustainable in the delivery (i.e. taking the message home).
Ensure you keep the community, the message, places and people at the centre of the campaign.
Example deliverables to help get the message out:
• A branded gazebo to run the campaign from, located in a high footfall area
• Scratchcards/prize draw cards – something that ensures people keep the message with them
• Giveaway photo frames or key-rings with the messages on
• Branded balloons
• Messages that are lit up (for nighttime events)
• Photo key rings with the message on one side
• Posters, flyers and banners
• Chalk messages
• T shirts
For more examples of deliverables view our Projects
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Life after the campaign
Begin planning life after the campaign as part of your intervention planning. A successful social norms project aims to first correct misperceptions and then ideally changes behaviour over time. This is usually done when messages are sustained.
Planning in advance also provides value for money; if you structure the budget and identify places where sustainability can be built afterwards. For example the Nice One and Norm and Norma campaign branding were still used to carry other community messages is Hull and Sheffield after the projects had finished.
Recycle and build on deliverables (eg. website, icons, scratchcards) where possible.
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MEASURES OF SUCCESS
The aim of a social norms campaign is to reduce levels of misperceptions. That is, a social norms campaign aims to align people’s perceptions of the norm with the actual norm in their community.
The long term goal of a sustained social norms project is to improve the health of a community by changing behaviour. Along the way to achieving the long term goal there are a number of measures for success – which measure of success you choose to use will depend on your campaign and the aims you set for your project. Which measures of success you use is likely to depend on whether your evaluation of success is focussed on behaviour and perception change or if it is a process evaluation.
Longer term you might want to look to see if there is a change in behaviour (e.g. reduction in smoking prevalence in the community), shorter term you might evaluate if levels of misperception have reduced (i.e. are people’s best guess of the norm closer to the actual norm of their community).
For your project in your community you’ll need to consider what you might feasibly achieve with the resource available to you. Achieving sustained changes in perceptions and behaviour takes time and is likely to depend on the infrastructure and supporting activities taking part in your community; projects that are embedded in a wider programme of denormalisation of unhealthy behaviour have a greater chance of achieving sustained change.
Be realistic about the degree of change you are likely to see from a single campaign – consider what impact you would expect to see from other campaigns and how your current campaign compares. Process evaluation can provide an indication of how well your campaign is progressing, and can provide insights into improvements that can be made prior to launching the next campaign.