Meaningfully engaging consumer leaders in the Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative helps ensure the community's patient, caregiver, and consumer needs are met. Meaningful consumer engagement (CE) is a term often used when describing multi-stakeholder organizations. It is a set of practices established to activate consumers in all aspects of a project’s design, governance, implementation, and evaluation. Meaningful consumer engagement is:
- Effective—Consumers’ participation has an impact on programs and is an integral part of achieving the organization’s vision and mission.
- Equitable—All stakeholder groups are engaged, including consumers, and stakeholder representation is balanced; consumers are offered equivalent opportunities in activities and shaping decisions regarding the organization’s work.
- Purposeful—Consumers feel the relationship allows them to achieve their respective goals; the organization respects consumers’ interests and uses their expertise.
This document outlines key competencies and core operations for Alliance project staff, including the project director and CE lead, who work with consumers and on consumer engagement goals. Presented is a set of operations critical to engaging consumers and advocates successfully in AF4Q. They include recruitment, strategic planning, relationship building, facilitation, support and retention, and evaluation. Each category includes sample resources and implementation methods.