Public and community relations

Community relations is the relationship an organization has with the people who live in, and visit, the area in which it operates.

Some BIAs have dedicated staff focused on public and community relations. Others choose to hire consulting firms.

There are a wide range of activities that a BIA can undertake related to public and community relations:






BIAs can play an important role by distributing or creating communication messages. They can help unite the business community by establishing important relationships with other community voices and advocating for broader community concerns.

Communications can take the form of news releases, website updates and social media postings.

These can be related to marketing and promotion or they can be part of the BIA’s brand awareness.

Marketing and Promotion

A BIA encourages residents and visitors to shop and use services within the area through marketing and promotional activities supported by print, radio and online advertising.

Social Media

Social media channels include Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. As with any communications tactic, it’s important to know your audience, and keep in mind that social media must be consistent and can be significant investment of time to monitor and respond to inquiries, comments and other feedback.


BIAs as Placemakers





BIAs foster the development of placemaking opportunities and use of local assets to create a shared sense of space and an interactive experience with the area.

Special Events

BIAs organize and work with partners to create special events promoting and drawing people to the area. Examples include:

  • Street theatre and dance festivals;
  • arts and crafts exhibitions;
  • parades;
  • local farmers’ markets; and
  • culinary events.

Here are some statements for your BIA to consider when planning public and community relations activities:

  • The BIA participates and seeks out opportunities that support and promote their organization’s mandate, programs and services.
  • The BIA has a written plan or goal to maintain or increase participation and involvement in their organization (volunteers, memberships, program attendees, etc.).
  • The BIA Board is committed to being welcoming and inclusive at all levels (diversity in board members, staff, members, programs, events, etc.).
  • The BIA Board shares their successes and challenges with their members and the community (as applicable).
  • The BIA Board approves and reviews written public and community relations’ policies and procedures.
  • The BIA Board reviews and approves a written marketing plan that supports their strategic and business plan goals and actions.
  • The BIA’s marketing materials are informative, easy to read and well distributed.
  • The BIA uses different kinds of marketing materials that are easy to read and designed to reach specific groups of people.
  • The BIA Board reviews and approves a written communication plan that targets different people.


Governance and Public and Community Relations Resources​




Governance resources

Alberta Culture and Tourism:


  • Toolk​its, workshops​


  • Volunteer Engagement

Public and community relations resources

The Federation of Calgary Communities:

  • Workshops, training and resources related to governance and operations​

Community Place:

Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary:

The Storytelling Nonprofit:


We do regular research with businesses to better understand the outlook and viewpoint of the business community. If you are a business owner, leader or manager, join our online business research panel, Business Perspectives.