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Enhancing Synergy Groups

As synergy groups progress beyond the set-up phase, there are many other activities they can undertake to further their goals. Many groups move toward more formal structures and processes than they had in their early stages (see Operating a Synergy Group). Other groups look to develop documents (Best Management Practices BMPs) to guide industry development in their communities or provide information to residents and landowners in their area. Some groups have also taken a lead or participatory role in community projects such as community gardens, trail maintenance and road side cleanup.


BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (BMPs)

Best Management Practices (BMPs), also known as Best Practices (BPs) or Recommended Practices (RPs) are practices to guide industry activity in the area the synergy group represents.

Synergy group BMPs should always be specific to their community. The strength of these documents lies in their ability to address specific issues or concerns in a specific community. This allows BMPs to recognize what makes each community unique. One community might have a sensitive wildlife area such as a wetland, lake, or tract of undisturbed forest, while another might have rural schools that companies need to be aware of.

These sample BMP documents provided to us by various synergy groups can serve as a good starting point and save time and effort versus starting from scratch.

Synergy Alberta recommends contacting the creator/author of any documents listed here to ensure you can use or alter any part of the document and that you have the most up-to-date version.

Synergy-driven BMP examples:

Industry and government driven BMP examples:

NEWSLETTERS

Newsletters are a tool that synergy groups can use to expand their visibility and raise their public profile. They do require some time and expense but they are a good way to disseminate information and help brand your group.

Newsletters can be mass distributed or sent to a mailing list. Mailing lists for conventional newsletters can be developed by gathering names at public events, regular meetings or even through the media.

Content can range from background on the group, lists of members and their contact information, how to get involved with the group, information on specific topics or issues or promotion of upcoming events.

E-newsletters are much more economical to distribute but remember Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) requirements must be adhered to when creating or utilizing distribution lists.

Newsletter resources:

  • Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
  • Understanding Copyright Law
  • West Central Stakeholders (WCS) Fall 2016 Newsletter
  • West Central Stakeholders (WCS) Spring 2018 Newsletter
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    OPEN HOUSES

    Many synergy groups host Open Houses or Information Nights to share information with members of the public in their communities. There are many formats for these events including an informal 'trade show' where group members set up booths or displays for attendees. Other options include presentations (with or without question and answer periods) or a combination of booths and presenters.

    Open house resources:

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    YOUTH INVOLVEMENT

    Synergy groups often look for ways to involve people not otherwise connected to their group's activities. One example from West Central Stakeholders encourages youth involvement by inviting applications for two bursaries which are awarded based on attendance at meetings and events, as well as other forms of involvement.

    Examples from West Central Stakeholders:

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    COMMUNITY PROJECTS

    Some groups have taken a lead or participatory role in community projects. These are great activities for relationship building as well as providing additional opportunities to contribute positively to your community. Some community projects are issue-driven - revolving around addressing a local challenge or concern - while others are more general community enhancement endeavours.

    Community project examples:

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    DEVELOPING A WEBSITE

    A web presence allows your group to post meeting minutes, dates and locations of upcoming meetings and events, links to best practices, newsletters and lists of member companies, agencies, etc. Having a website can also expand visibility and raise a public profile. It is a great way for people interested in your group to access information and get a sense of what your group is about.

    Synergy groups may create their own website or they can choose to create a webpage through the Synergy Alberta website. Maintaining a web presence is one of the endorsement requirements for membership in Synergy Alberta.

    To arrange for a webpage on the Synergy Alberta website, fill out a Web Page Planning Worksheet [.doc] and e-mail it to webmaster@synergyalberta.ca.

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    SOCIAL MEDIA

    If your group doesn’t already use social media, this may be an avenue to explore. Much like a web presence, social media can be used to raise your groups profile and to post information about your events, but unlike a web site or page, social media also reaches out to followers proactively with that information.

    There are several platforms available that you can use to spread the word about your group. Understanding what demographics make up your target audience can help you decide which ones are best suited to reaching them.

    It is important to ensure that any content you place on your social media sites will be in alignment with the guiding principles of synergy and your group. (i.e. respect, transparency, etc.)

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