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Community Engagement: How Citizen Feedback Can Help Local Communities

Jun 20, 2022 | Blog

Feedback is essential for every business. The voice of a customer can help the business determine where it is succeeding and what it can improve on. Feedback not only helps companies daily but lets customers be valued contributors. Community government, though not a traditional business, benefits from community insights in exactly the same way. Citizens want active participation to have a voice and be part of the governing process. This is a powerful vehicle and at the core of American values.

Community engagement is rewarding for all parties involved. Continue to read to explore the impact of community feedback.

The Citizen Impact – Community Engagement

Decisions that community governments make will directly or indirectly affect all citizens. This is why some citizens are adamant about expressing their opinions and becoming community partners. They know they can make a stance towards a certain perspective or position. As an example, a community is determining whether to allow the construction of a tall apartment complex. Some citizens may argue that it could be great for the community’s economy.

Others may articulate that the complex will block desirable views. Citizens who are upset may go out of their way to prevent the construction.

The community’s leadership will make the final decision, but it is helpful to hear different sides. Citizens do indeed hold power as their arguments can sway decision-makers. Their creative expression helps build thriving communities.

Effective Community Engagement Approaches

There are many effective approaches to incorporating engagement within a community. Below are a few helpful ideas.

#1: Regular Community Meetings

Townhall meetings are a long-standing tradition. For centuries, communities have embraced engagement meetings. In such meetings, community events, topics, and legislature are discussed.

Citizens have the ability to speak and share their positions. Often, community meetings are held monthly or even weekly. They are a great way to include citizens in the governing process and develop community resources.

Each meeting will have an agenda and will be led by community leaders. One of the benefits of regular community meetings is that they are organized and formal. In turn, they will be productive.

#2. Community Events

Nothing brings a community together more than enjoyable events! Events such as free festivals or concerts will bring citizens together in fellowship. With a town or city sponsoring an event, neighbors can get to know each other better.

Communities can also host fundraiser-based events. Through supporting a charitable cause, citizens can feel connected and engaged. They can work together towards a goal bigger than themselves.

Often, large community events attract a big audience. If advertised well, such events can bring in hundreds if not thousands of people. Not only are these events beneficial for community engagement, but can attract more tourism to the city or town.

Community feedback and ideas

#3. Easy Feedback Methods

For a community to have effective engagement, there have to be additional feedback approaches besides regular community meetings. Historically, some communities have had a feedback or comment box.

While a feedback box can be helpful, there are more effective and easier methods for citizens to share their voices. One such method is an on-site digital comment card.

With an on-site digital comment card, citizens can send in comments or concerns through their mobile devices. This technology simplifies the feedback process. In turn, it makes it more effective for citizens and community leaders. Immediate feedback methods like these are effective in relationship building and providing creative expression.

Once citizens submit their comments, they will be immediately be available to community leaders.

#4. Community Clubs and Organizations

Everyone has certain hobbies or activities that they enjoy. Creating clubs or organizations can be a great way for communities to encourage engagement among citizens. Community-based organizations are an ideal way to remove the traditional top-down approach and provide social engagement.

Clubs can be activity-based (ex. chess club) or can be motivation-driven (ex. charitable cause). Within these clubs or organizations, citizens can be regular members or take leadership roles.

Certain organizations can partner directly with the community for events and meetings. Community clubs and organizations not only help bring members of the community together, but help grow the community as a whole.

Why Community Engagement Matters

When community leaders invite citizens to be a part of the conversation, this gives citizens the respect they deserve. Moreover, citizens want to be community connectors and to have a say in decisions that can affect them.

When citizens feel active in the governing process, they are more satisfied and happier. In this way, a happier citizen will result in a more supportive citizen.

When a community makes its citizens feel heard and appreciated, citizens will be more likely to vote for current leadership. Additionally, they will encourage others to visit or move to the community.

Citizen feedback provides invaluable insight for decision-makers. When citizens make clear what they desire, community leaders will notice. At the heart of a leadership position is service to the people.

Local officials should always do what is in the best interest of the community’s citizens. Engagement and feedback is one of the most effective ways to do this.

Sometimes, situations call for unique and out-of-the-box thinking. Through feedback, citizens can present creative solutions to community challenges or issues. There is truth in the old saying that more minds are better than one.

Encourage Meaningful Citizen Engagement Today

Encouraging citizen feedback and community engagement has never been easier. With modern technologies, citizens can share their voices in an impactful way.

At Opiniator, we believe in the power of effective communication and thriving communities. Feedback is critical to community governance. It allows leadership to make more calculated decisions. Of essence, it lets citizens play a role in how their community is run. This is imperative for the long-term wellbeing of the community.

To learn more about digital comment cards and how they can help in the feedback process, we invite you to contact us today.

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