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7 Pieces of Citizen Engagement Advice from the Frontlines

Who better to dole out advice about how to truly engage in citizen engagement and its new trends than those who do it every day? Below are seven tips from our Citizen Engagement guide and GovLoop survey respondents about what’s really important when you create citizen engagement, based on their experiences.

Want more of the information below? Then make sure to sign up for Carahsoft’s Fourth Annual Citizen Engagement Seminar on June 19th! At the event, your government peers will share best practices and current strategies on how to improve engaging the public, streamlining the delivery of services, and improving constituents’ overall satisfaction. Register now to hear perspectives and strategies on how government public sector experts and your those in federal, and state and local governments are changing the way government engages with citizens.

1. “Plan well to overcome typical barriers to participation; allow enough time to raise awareness about an activity or initiative; utilize a broad range of advertising channels; and when possible involve the public in providing input into the planning.” – Local employee, Chapel Hill, N.C.

2. “Set appropriate expectations (i.e., when we do and don't monitor our social media accounts), responds as swiftly as possible to questions from our residents (and visitors) and coordinate appropriate safety messaging with you office and other state/local/federal agencies.” – State employee, Baltimore

3. “A good (balanced) mix of outreach materials to reach a diversified audience. One segment of our population still relies on newspaper ads and print stories. Other segments want to see the information streaming through a News Feed on Facebook on their smart phone. You have to hit all the various avenues for engagement.” – Local employee, Los Alamos, N.M.

4. “Create a comprehensive strategic plan for engagement before doing anything. And conduct audience research to inform planning to ensure engagement efforts are on target and yield results and desired impact.” – Federal employee, Washington, D.C.

5. “Answer when asked. Don’t shy away from criticism and don’t hesitate to defend and combat misinformation. Communicate that where there is a will, there is a way, a promise that we will work to resolve issues and then keep the public posted on our progress.” – State employee, Little Rock, Ark.

6. “Set specific, measurable goals for citizen engagement projects; make concerted efforts to understand the constituency and focus on outreach to underserved communities; develop interesting, engaging, and mission-focused content for communication/marketing channels; be extremely responsive to citizen requests; incorporate citizen feedback into decision-making; and continually measure success and improving efforts.” – Local employee, Joliet, Ill.

7. “Be honest, be loud, be focused and you can impact change. From a gov side, I would say be open to new ideas, which seems to be more common now than in the past.” – State employee, Fairfax County, Va.

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