Public Engagement, Surveys, Feedback

SERA has extensive experience with effective outreach approaches that outperform traditional outreach methods.  We have conducted stakeholder and committee meetings and individual focus groups. We have designed and evaluated community-based social marketing programs in recycling, energy efficiency, and sustainability. 

Stakeholder Meetings, Focus Groups, & Detailed Interviews

SERA has extensive experience and training in specialized strategies for facilitating stakeholder meetings.  We use an integrated four-strategy approach:  1) We conduct a pre-survey to understand pertinent issues and "hot spots", 2) We use elements of “Appreciative Inquiry” to assure meetings are not dominated by personalities, that they focus on opportunities for leveraging successes toward positive change, and do not devolve into the same old discussions of barriers and special interests. We focus on an open process with participation from all. 3) We use real-time “clicker” voting technologies to assure meetings run productively and the preferences of all attendees are heard. Attendees see the results of the votes on the screen in real time, adding to the sense of completion / feedback and fueling additional discussion, 4) We conduct multiple meetings and offer a web version to include a broad range of participants.   In a recent project with 10 stakeholder meetings held around the state, two of the areas asked the State to sponsor these meetings quarterly or annually, because they felt they got so much out of it!  We have used these approaches for scores of meetings, and have presented on these strategies  in multiple conferences. 

SERA Staff and Dr. Skumatz have conducted thousands of detailed interviews with stakeholders as part of process evaluation, “new measures”, market adoption, and other projects. In solid waste and recycling we have conducted interviews from the local to national level. Our interviews have included commercial builders / developers / owners, residential households and builders, contractors, waste haulers, recycling processors, public officials, agricultural sectors, and others. 

Social Marketing/Behavioral/Outreach Programs & Evaluations

SERA has designed, conducted, and/or evaluated behavioral programs in the energy and recycling / solid waste fields.  Dr. Skumatz has written manuals and tool-kits on behavioral programs and best practices. Our projects include residential programs all across the nation, and additional evaluations of military programs, schools programs, and commercial programs. In multiple social marketing projects, we use detailed evaluations with quasi experimental design and detailed tracking of impacts, costs and persistence of effects. In one project, we used our retention work to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of “cycling” a well-known behavioral energy program. For a large client in California, we prepared a wide-ranging best practices manual on behavioral programs, addressing impact evaluation,  net-to-gross, retention, and NEB methods, results / state-of-the-art, and  gaps. 

We have conducted detailed work measuring the impact of outreach and  education programs, and have written manuals and developed  tools for social marketing.  We have examined the impacts attributable to attitudinal and socio-demographic effects, including self-efficacy and other factors.  

Sample of SERA Clients


Workshops / Webinars / Manuals / Train the Trainer / Facilitations 

EPA headquarters, EPA10, EPA 9, EPA8, EPA5, States of California, Ohio, Wyoming, Iowa, Colorado CDPHE, Coalition of Northeastern Governors / CONEG, Southern States Energy Board, Ball, Canadian MOE, Boulder County, Massachusetts OEOA, ABA, others      

Facilitation, Public Meetings 

State of Colorado CDPHE-3 projects, Colorado National Guard, State of CO, Fort Collins CO, National Recycling Coalition,  Anchorage, Jackson Hole WY, Santa Clarita CA, Massachusetts EOEA, Pitkin County CO, Superior CO, other.   

Education, Behavioral, and Social Marketing Program & Analysis 

Iowa DNR, Colorado CDPHE, Energy Journal, Insinkerator, CIEE – California Institute for Energy and Environment, Center for Environmental Technology / CET, Tompkins County NY, Alliance to Save Energy, Resource Recycling, Boulder County, Alameda StopWaste, NW Regional Technical Forum, others 

Commercial surveys / interviews / on-sites 

Mecklenburg County NC, Santa Barbara, Westminster CO, Boulder, Boulder County, Pitkin County, Mesa County, Superior CO, Seattle, California DTSC/NEMA, Vail CO, Edgewater CO, Anchorage, Oregon DEQ, Washington County OR, State of Wyoming, Product Stewardship Institute, others  

Residential surveys / interviews 

Westminster CO, Boulder, Boulder County, Pitkin County, Mesa County, Superior CO, Edgewater CO, Fort Collins, California DTSC, Santa Clarita CA, West Jordan UT, Anchorage, many others.     222>

SERA Publications in Social Marketing / Behavior/ Outreach


  1. “Is Social Marketing Cost Effective? Theory, Pilots, Full-Scale Results, and Their Implications”, Proceedings of the International Solid Waste Association Conference 2012. With Juri Freeman.
  2. “Spending Your Outreach Dollar Wisely: Increasing Recycling Using Community-Based Social Marketing”, Waste Advantage,      February 2012
  3. “Filling Two Key Research Gaps in Social Marketing: Exploring Cost-Effectiveness and Retention in an Experiment to Influence Energy and Trash Recycling Behaviors”, Proceedings of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists Conference (AERE), 2011. 
  4. “Measuring the Impacts of Social Marketing – What is the “Bang for the Buck”? Is it Worth It?”, Proceedings of the EEDAL Conference, 2011
  5. “Measuring the Impacts of Social Marketing on Recycling – What is the “Bang for the Buck”? Is it Worth It?”, Proceedings of the SWANA WasteCon Conference, 2011.
  6. “Does Social Marketing Work: Addressing Measurement Gaps in Impacts and Retention for Behavioral Programs, Proceedings of the IEPEC Conference,  2011 
  7. “Social Marketing – How Cost-Effective is it?”, Resource Recycling April 2010.
  8. “Social Marketing – Measuring Impacts and Costs in a Project in the Broadlands Neighborhood”, Proceedings of the Solid Waste Association of North America      Wastecon Conference, 2010.
  9. Attributable  Effects From Information And Outreach Programs: Net To Gross, Nebs, And Beyond (Myers  & Skumatz, 4322), Proceedings  for the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE), June      2007, France.
  10. Evaluation of the Green Campus Program, prepared for CPUC, October 2006.
  11. Optimizing Education and Program Outreach: Measuring the Impacts of Resource Conservation Programs, American Evaluation Association,      Portland, OR, November 2006.
  12. “Exploring the Role of Attitudes and NEBs in Green Initiatives: Results, Implications, and Uses for Evaluating “Green” Programs”, Western Economics Association (WEA), San Diego, July 2006.
  13. “Valuing  Hard to Measure Program Effects: Survey and Results”, Western Economics Association (WEA), San  Diego, July 2006.
  14. “Education  / Outreach Programs in Recycling: Impacts and Effects”, SWANA Wastecon, 2006.
  15. “Optimizing  Education and Program Outreach: Measuring the Impacts of Recycling and Resource Conservation Programs”, prepared for SWANA WasteCon 2001proceedings, October 2001.
  16. “Evaluating  the impact of recycling education”, Resource Recycling, August 2001.
  17. “Evaluating The Impacts Of Education / Outreach Programs – Lessons On Impacts, Methods, And Optimal Education”, Proceedings of the 2000 ACEEE Summer Study, Asilomar, CA, 2000.

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