Unlock the full potential of your Online Community Engagement
Author: Mark Luxton, digital community engagement lead at GoCollaborate
With the rapidly evolving digital landscape, the face of community engagement has changed significantly. But are you optimising your online community engagement efforts effectively?
The digital age has opened a myriad of opportunities to optimise community engagement. From virtual town hall meetings, online discussion forums to data-driven decision making, the possibilities are boundless. This digital transformation doesn't just bring us closer, but it strengthens our democratic processes, allowing for more transparency, inclusivity, and accessibility.
Since the Covid pandemic we have seen new cohorts of online users emerge. The elderly, for example, have become more connected than ever before.
However, the road to successful digital integration isn't without its challenges.
Whether it's the digital divide, privacy concerns, or managing misinformation, it's essential to approach these challenges proactively to reap the benefits of online engagement.
This blog touches upon a recent innovation of online community engagement and offers practical solutions and tips to effectively tap into your digital communities.
Online communities have become more powerful and increasingly important, particularly when you consider that currently, nearly 80% of the UK’s adult population has a smartphone.
So, when it comes to connecting with communities digitally, there are some new innovative online community consultation and engagement platforms, with built-in community participation dashboards that can help you track and react to consultation inputs to help with running an efficient, meaningful, and inclusive community engagement.
These online platforms are being successfully used to reach, inform, and engage wider audiences. Unlike simple e-survey forms they offer an enhanced user experience as they have additional capability which includes being able to add engaging visual imagery, maps, documents, and information alongside survey questions grouped thematically, which users can share with their social groups through social media networks.
The use of these innovative engagement platforms is vast and can help councils prepare and deliver successful neighbourhood development plans and community regeneration and sustainability projects. They are also being used to engage with communities quickly to assess the feasibility of project proposals, or, for gathering evidence to support business case submissions to access funding streams or public works loans, such as those available from the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and HM Treasury.
Local Councils need to make it as easy and interesting as possible for their communities to take time out in their busy, challenging lives to engage with them, particularly those that just don’t have the time to attend a town hall meeting or participatory workshop, such as families with young children, those with busy schedules or access difficulties.
So, when you plan your next community engagement be sure to give ‘digital community engagement’ a high priority in your community engagement strategy. Consider whether your digital community engagement efforts should be at least matched with those set aside for traditional engagement methods, such as face to face meetings, leaflet drops, posters. Also, spare a thought about the resources leading your digital engagement - are they well versed in this area, or have received the necessary training to ensure your councils digital community engagement efforts are effective?
For more information or to book a demonstration of our online community engagement platform visit us at www.gocollaborate.co.uk or email us at .
GoCollaborate is a provider of online community consultation platforms and is a commercial partner of NALC. They have an experienced consultation team on hand to help you with tailor made engagement and consultation support and to help you to integrate digital consultation with traditional engagement activities to optimise community engagement and feedback.
The following blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional or legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Association of Local Councils. Any links to external sources included in this blog post are provided for convenience and do not constitute endorsement or approval of those websites' content, products, services, or policies. Therefore, readers should use discretion and judgment when applying the information to their circumstances. Finally, this blog post may be updated or revised without notice.