Engaging the public for public good.

Community Engagement

For more than 30 years, Consensus has engaged the public in finding solutions. In meetings of a dozen to hundreds of people, engaging constituents pays off with benefits such as:

  • Solutions built around the common good rather than the wishes of special interest groups;
  • New ideas that can move past gridlock, conflict and solution wars;
  • Proposals that work in the real world; and
  • The political will to get things done.

Consensus is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Approximately 50% of our income comes from consulting work. Contact us for more information on how we can help you create more effective civic engagement, or for information on civility trainings.

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Deliberative Action Planning

Deliberation asks people to consider different approaches to a problem, and the tradeoffs and consequences of each.

It asks people to learn about the issue and consider perspectives other than their own. Deliberation helps move people past wishful thinking and denial and toward real solutions.

Consensus has produced deliberative events with dozens of people lasting several hours. We have also produced some of the biggest public engagements in local history, with hundreds of people for an entire day.

Consensus offers skilled facilitators and a deep understanding of this proven way to find common ground for action. For big projects, we engage national leaders in applying technology to large-scale engagement.

Focus Groups and Interviews

Focus groups and interviews are a cost-effective way to get information from a defined group of people.

Consensus can handle everything from recruitment to the final report. Our analysis shows clearly what people value and what actions they would support.

Strategic Planning and Action Planning

When your group faces a pivotal moment, you need a plan.

When your group faces a pivotal moment, you need a plan. Consensus KC can help you develop that with participatory strategic planning and action planning. Consensus has extensive experience with participatory strategic planning processes that chart a bold path forward.

Example: Future Search

A future search gets people reflecting the whole system in the room for about two days. There are no speeches or experts other than the participants. The facilitators guide the process, but participants create the content and decide what it means. The result of a future search is an action plan built upon common ground.

In 1993, Consensus held the first community-wide future search. Marvin Weisbord, co-creator of the process, wrote about the event in his book, “Discovering Common Ground.”

Research and Analysis Services

Accurate, unbiased information creates trust, and skillful communication builds support.

Consensus excels at conducting research and analysis, and communicating even complicated subjects in a clear, compelling manner.

Whether working on client-funded or philanthropic projects, Consensus can provide the following:

  • Primary research using surveys and interviews with experts and stakeholders
  • Data gathering and literature review
  • Identification of key trends affecting an issue or industry
  • Options for approaching an issue, the values involved and the pros and cons of each
  • Written materials such as reports and website copy targeted to specific audiences

Since its founding, Consensus has involved the community in studying 16 public policy issues.

Our studies are based on the belief that people can learn about a situation and find innovative new approaches that speak to what’s most important to local residents. Our studies are neutral, thorough, and written in clear, accessible language. Consensus studies have been the catalyst for new laws, new and improved programs, and increased understanding and awareness.

Group Facilitation Services

We guide groups large and small through facilitated conversations designed to reflect on an issue, work through a roadblock, or make a decision.

From college classrooms to community coalitions, we have worked with diverse groups of people to achieve their goals. Recently, we’ve led discussions on what it means to be civically engaged, helped a community coalition narrow down their priorities, and led community conversations on life in a pandemic and race relations.

Our Process

Flexible and Tailored

We don’t have a cookie cutter approach. Instead, we tailor our work to the situation, client, or topic at hand.

Participatory and Inclusive

We believe people should have a voice in the decisions that impact their lives. We design our work to ensure that they do.


We have decades of experience in public participation and civic engagement work, and keep abreast of innovations in engagement methods.


We ask people to consider different ways to deal with an issue and make the tough choices that are needed to solve the problem.

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