Technology, Tools and Techniques to Reach Your Community

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) has worked hard over the years to help local agencies increase the level of public engagement in their communities. Authentic public engagement has the potential to help positively transform communities. Engaging the public early in the decision-making process can help agencies avoid costly pitfalls and mistakes. Constituents who have helped shape a proposed policy, project or program typically have a better understanding of the issues at hand and the reasoning behind the final decision. Simply put – participation helps generate ownership.

Local governments use a wide variety of technology options in their efforts to connect with their communities. While some technology may be costly, many options are reasonably priced and the range of available choices is broad enough to be feasible for any local government, from large to small.

Maximize communications and outreach methods already in place!
Every county has outreach and engagement efforts in place. For instance, commonly used communication channels include newsletters, websites, social media, blogs, local government TV channels and online surveys are vital to engaging the public and can often be better utilized. For example, social media posts can be enhanced through visuals and concise language – link to your website to provide more details.

Emerging Technologies
For local jurisdictions interested in pursuing more advanced options, for example technology allowing open access to public agency data and the development and use of mobile apps is now more accessible to local governments.

For tips on existing and emerging technologies and examples of local governments that are maximizing these tools visit ILG’s website www.ca-ilg.org/post/technology-tools-and-techniques-reach-your-community.

Interested in Learning More?
ILG is offering a free webinar on “Technology, Tools and Techniques to Improve Public Engagement” on June 18, 2014, from 10:00 to 11:00 am.

Panelists will discuss:
• Ideas on how to use technology to get the word out and encourage more participation in the public engagement process;
• Methods of coordinating digital engagement with in-person meetings and typically traditional forms of outreach to generate more ideas and input from the community;
• Tips on how to use this input to enhance local agency decision-making; and
• Examples of cities and counties that are reaching and engaging new audiences.

Click here to register: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/150690048

About: Melissa Kuehne:
Melissa Keuhne is the Communications Coordinator for the Institute for Local Government, a research affiliate of CSAC.

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