Local government leaders have often told us that capturing feedback from their community is important, but challenging. Citizen crowdsourcing on the web – also known as citizensourcing – is quickly becoming one of the most reliable and effective ways to achieve this because it allows government agencies connect to a broader audience online, listen to their feedback, prioritize and make better decisions without requiring a ton of time and resources.
At Granicus, we see our government clients applying a crowdsourcing design to their citizen engagement strategies and they are achieving really productive results! Here are three key ways that we’re seeing local governments leverage online citizensourcing:
1. Collect feedback on specific projects or topics
Here are some real examples of feedback that municipalities are collecting related to specific projects or topics that are being considered by city councils or other legislative bodies:
Using Granicus CivicIdeas, you can easily pose questions like this to your community to better understand their needs using discussions, idea forums and surveys. Support your initiative by uploading documents, presentations or videos and get real feedback from a much broader audience. A better informed government that has timely and actionable information from its citizens makes better decisions for its citizens.
2. Enable your citizens to propose ideas to improve the community
Citizens often want to be the genesis of great ideas for their community. It gives them an ownership stake in their community, a sense of achievement and teamwork, and it is a way to truly tap the collective brainpower of the community.
With a dedicated website for citizens to easily share ideas like this one, you'll have a better understanding of the wants and needs of your community. Other citizens can then vote on and prioritize these ideas. Your staff can acknowledge the idea directly on the website and determine if the idea should move forward. This is where Granicus CivicIdeas really shine.
3. Run reports on collected citizen feedback to bring back to your meetings
The reporting capabilities in CivicIdeas are robust, allowing you identify citizens who are providing feedback, and to better understand your community as a whole. Citizen comments are logged in an easy-to-read reporting format, showing the date, time, and name of user alongside their comments. With mapping tools, you can easily identify where citizen participation is coming from. In addition, users can build reports that enable you to analyze comments and positions, and distribute them to elected members or department heads prior to their board or council meetings. This provides community leaders with a deeper understanding of public opinion before they make decisions.
Beyond using targeted tools to gather quality feedback from your community, citizen engagement platforms like Granicus CivicIdeas offer a platform that you can brand and customize to match your current website. This is actually a powerful way for you to create a controlled environment where members of your community can feel safe commenting and voting on ideas. This portal also builds confidence; it helps create the assurance that their voices are being heard.