Defining the purpose

Defining the purpose is the first step in the planning process. You need to consider:

  1. Who has responsibility for the outcomes? (For example: Your minister? Your branch? A task force?)
  2. Why do you need public input?
  3. How will you use the information you gather?
  4. Who will it affect?
  5. What is your timeline?

Understanding the purpose will help decision-making and approvals throughout the project. It allows for clear communication with your audience and helps avoid misunderstandings. One way to define your purpose is to use the following sentence as a guide: 

[Person/Entity] is [understand/learn about/seeking input] from [audience] about [the key issue] so that they can [achieve a goal or take an action] by [date/season].

The Strategic Framework prepared by SFU’s Centre for Dialogue is also helpful in defining your purpose.