Posted on: 24 August 2020
Setting up an online public participation platform is essential for many government agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, groups, and movements. However, you'll need to think hard about what elements make for a good community engagement platform. Here are 5 tips for handling this issue.
Emphasize Ease of Adoption
No effort, especially on the internet, is ever going to surpass its ease of adoption. The sign-up process must be as simple and short as can be achieved without compromising security. Everything that nags a bit needs to operate on an opt-in basis. It also has to be apparent to end-users that you care about their safety, privacy, and data security from the moment they load the community engagement platform.
With so much online interaction taking place over mobile devices, your system has to place nicely with phones and tablets. Most platforms will utilize what's called responsive design to accomplish this goal. A responsive system is designed to deliver the same content to multiple devices seamlessly. If someone is looking at the content vertically on their phone and sends it to a friend who is viewing it horizontally on their tablet, the adjustment should be automatic.
Information, Information, Information
Content is the primary driver of interest in platforms. You want to create an environment that's rich with the information that community members need. If you're using the platform to help citizens engage with local government, for example, then you'll need a calendar showing the dates for meetings. Anything that has a specific location should include a map. Likewise, webinars should be accompanied by instructions on how to access them on a wide range of devices.
An online public participation platform needs to allow members of the community to engage with your organization and each other. Properly moderated discussion forums are ideal. Many organizations also integrate their social media feeds with their engagement areas.
Seek feedback as part of the engagement process, too. A simple survey or poll can go a long way toward telling you how successful your efforts are. There should also be private and anonymized options for folks to raise concerns about both your organization and community members.
Provide Analysis and Reports
Presumably, your organization produces analysis and reports regarding its efforts. If you've performed research on a topic, make the data available to the public through the platform. You can also use the platform to promote transparency. A detailed accounting of how your organization handles money can instill immense trust and even provoke deeper conversations about funding and spending.
If you are interested in creating a platform, contact a company like Stepherson & Associates Communications - InfoCommunity.Share