As a municipality or regional district, your citizens count on you to provide the most up-to-date information regarding issues and events that impact their daily lives. These activities can occur outside of election periods and range from water advisories and road closures to emergencies, community events, and more. Citizens expect accurate information right down to the minute so they can stay in the know and actively respond.
But it’s not only about fostering public trust and keeping people safe. It’s your job to hear out your citizens and amplify their voices in collective decision-making. Fortunately, the digital takeover makes this easier. Digital engagement can be a powerful mechanism to evaluate the public’s interest in influencing decisions and engaging with governments.
It gives municipalities the advantage of saving time, money, and resources.
Not to mention it also empowers citizens to voice their opinions and shape the future of their community.
However, for digital engagement to be effective, it must be well-designed, adequately resourced, and executed from a genuine desire to solve issues positively or make better decisions.
As a byproduct of mass notifications, digital engagement is the future of how we keep our communities informed, engaged, and safe. These are the ways that municipalities can harness the power of digital solutions to transform their community decision-making to the next level.
1. Community connection
No one knows what’s needed for the community better than those who live, work, and play in your hometown. But traditionally, municipalities struggle to distribute information from the top-down in effective ways. The stream of communications often remains imbalanced between the two groups as citizens don’t typically have the accessible tools to respond to informational notices or influence decision-making.
Whether you manage the activities and communications for a small township or large city, digital engagement through a mass notification system bridges the gap between citizens, municipal staff, and local committees and boards. Built on two-way communication and receipt, digital engagement encourages open feedback between local government and constituents in the form of simple queries, polls, and links to surveys.
These digital features make it easier for people to join the conversation, play a role in the decision-making, and for you to report back to citizens with the outcomes of the process. Municipalities can capture the interests of citizens, identify engagement levels, and feel a deeper connection with communities, which further incentivizes them to increase their productivity.
Municipalities can also send notices and reminders for town hall or council meetings to drive inclusive and measurable public participation in the community. With just a click of a button, citizens can conveniently accept or decline participation and are empowered with access to agendas, documents, and information that colour their understanding of the issues impacting their community. The more informed citizens are, the greater their sense of civic responsibility becomes.
2. Resonating with your constituents
The responsibilities of a municipality require engaging with the community to meet legislated regulations. But today, it goes beyond checking off a mandatory to-do list. With modern technology and citizens’ expectations of government transparency, municipalities want to show how much they can offer them and ensure taxpayers have a say in the decisions for their community.
Standard marketing tools like posters, newspapers, and radio ads are costly and no longer cut it to create effective awareness. Instead, digital engagement offers the opportunity to reach more citizens across any device, no matter what region they reside in.
Mass notification platforms like Voyent Alert! maximize digital engagement by instantly grabbing people’s attention where they’re most likely to receive information.
By leveraging multiple channels, from social media, email notifications, voice calls, texts, and mobile app alerts, municipalities can rely on these digital solutions to send the right message to the right people. Moreover, advanced geofencing capabilities allow municipalities to pinpoint a precise region of constituents to notify them of relevant events and activities, garnering local government greater control over the targeting of their message.
Unlike plain text notifications, this robust mass notification system uses enhanced features like:
- Rich media
- Eye-catching images
- personalized map pins
- And pdfs
to paint a more accurate picture of the activities in your municipality.
These modern digital platforms serve as the integrated one-stop-shop where citizens can find answers to their questions, stay informed about local news and issues, waste collection schedules, road closures, council meetings, and stay safe.
Not only that, but Voyent Alert! has proven to increase emergency preparedness in communities that issue informational alerts at a rate of one notification or more in a month, resulting in a registration rate that’s 5–10X higher than communities that issue one to two alerts per month.
3. Increase savings in the future
Another advantage of digital engagement is collecting real-time data and reporting and how it can inform future best practices. Where traditional engagement methods relied on door-to-door interactions or getting messages out on the ground, digital engagement can be conducted anywhere, anytime.
It significantly saves costs on printing, staffing and outreach efforts, and most valuable of all, time.
With access to instantaneous data, municipal offices can troubleshoot problems as they occur and keep constituents updated on developments. This helps you save as much operational loss as possible, and in turn, maintain economic productivity. By monitoring, detecting, and analyzing responses, municipalities can prevent or mitigate future losses and incidents.
For example, knowing how many residents are affected in each area can determine the most vulnerable regions in your population. This kind of information can influence your decision-making in emergency preparedness and allows you to form response behaviours to help keep people safe, allocate resources, and mitigate economic loss and disaster.
Stronger municipality, stronger people
Despite how diverse one’s experiences and opinions are, the pursuit of social outcomes unifies local government and citizens with common ground. When done right, digital engagement at the municipal level can support democracy, successful implementation of policy, and higher quality of life for all.
Digital engagement through a mass notification system assists municipalities with asking citizens the right questions and provides a meaningful outlet for them to weigh in on matters important to their community. Feedback is what makes all the difference and creates a resilient society.
Voyent Alert! is the cost-effective solution that builds better relationships between municipalities and constituents, creating a close-knit community that empowers each other and supports social pursuits. Book a free trial to learn more about Voyent Alert! and how it can keep your community better informed, engaged, and safe.
Or view how other communities have engaged their citizens in unique ways.