Joining Advisory Boards and Commissions

Other ways to get involved in boards & commissions

There are many ways to communicate your opinions to a board or commission, even if you are not a member:

Learn about and monitor the process

Find out when and where meetings take place and what will be discussed. In most communities, this information should be posted publicly. Track progress over time on the issues you care about most.

Get to know members

If there are members who are likely to share your opinions, reach out to them and offer your support. You may get more context about the policies and issues from them, while the board member or commissioner may be able to cite your support during the decision-making process.

Speak at a meeting or submit written comments

"Health advocates could play a much larger role in influencing the process. It would be great to hear more input on the health impact of major developments, but also on smaller projects. Often, as commissioners we need to reach out to people, but it would be great to have a more ongoing relationship – phone calls are always great."

– Planning Commissioner

Giving public comments at a meeting or submitting letters to the board/commission and other relevant government officials can be a great way to raise visibility of health and equity during the policy process. These strategies are especially effective as part of a longer-term campaign that involves engaging and building coalitions with community-based organizations, residents, and board/commission members who share your values. If you are planning to speak at a meeting, be sure to rehearse your statement and stick to any applicable time limits. Think about who should deliver your message: for instance, if you come from a community-based organization, decide who will have the most credibility or impact.


Some groups have workgroups or subcommittees that do not require that you sit on the board/commission in order to participate. This can provide an opportunity for you to learn more about the group’s work, contribute your expertise, and build relationships with members and other community stakeholders.

Find other ways to voice your opinions

For highly contentious issues, you may want to expand your outreach: in addition to contacting the board or commission, you may also want to voice your perspectives to the overseeing agency or legislative group, elected officials, and local media outlets. Find allies and other organizations that share your views and work with them to engage residents to voice their opinions.

Click here for other ways to get involved