There are significant benefits to looking at multiple methods to share and distribute information and obtain feedback. This “multichannel” approach uses a variety of methods to disseminate and share the project or program materials. This approach will enable agencies to reach members of the public that do not usually follow what is going on in local government.
Websites are one of the most common ways that local agencies communicate information to their communities. This article offers tips on how cities and counties can use their websites and document management systems to better engage their residents.
Providing information about local agency activities is a key aspect of public engagement. Technology such as webinars, videos and providing agenda and minutes electronically can help make the public decision making process more visible.
Newsletters, blogs and social media are all tools available to local agencies to help get the word out to residents about events, proposals, meetings and workshops. This article outlines ways local cities and counties to use these tools to increase awareness and civic participation.
One option local agencies can use to gather additional input from community members is online surveys. Web-based surveys can be a very helpful supplement to an agency’s earlier meetings, workshops and outreach work.
In addition to traditional online outreach methods, there are many emerging technologies that local agencies can use to broaden participation among residents. Open data, mobile applications and new video technology are increasingly becoming options for cities and counties.