Why is Good Citizen Engagement Important?

This is an excerpt from our brand-new guide, Your Citizen Engagement Checklist: 18 Strategies for Success. Download the guide for free here, and in the comments, share with us: what your strategies for success in engaging your citizens?

We let the GovLoop audience do the talking. Below, read six reasons our readers think citizen engagement, performed successfully and thoughtfully, really matters.

  1. It’s the foundation of our democracy.

“First and foremost, we work for those citizens and are accountable to them. They want to know that their tax dollars aren’t being spent frivolously and deserve to understand what we’re facing. We need them to contact their legislators and help us get things fixed. So the answer is clear: Educate them so they know what’s going on and can speak intelligently about it. They probably have some great ideas that just might work!” – Rebecca, Michigan Department of Transportation

  1. It makes financial sense.

“There seems to be a direct link between knowledgeable citizens and the ability to raise fees/levy for services. The smarter citizens are about the services they want, the more willing they are to help us design something that meets their needs as well as their pocketbooks.” – Michelle, city of Creswell, Ore.

  1. Engaged citizens make government better.

“People who feel connected to their governments participate in making government better. It’s important to feel like an individual’s voice can be heard when they address bureaucracy. Citizen engagement is more than voting or volunteering. It’s up to government to embed itself in citizens’ daily lives for both feedback and as a way of monitoring service delivery.” – John, San Mateo County, Calif.

  1. Because we need to reach all audiences, not just a few.

“Significant portions of our population have been left out of building the community’s future. Current leaders do not know how to best serve these communities.” – Greg, civilsay.net, Oregon

  1. It’s good business.

“I liken citizen engagement to the relationship between shareholders and a company. In Nevada, government is the largest employer and has a mission much larger than its resources. Only by engaging citizens can we find solutions that make sense and are achievable given our limited resources.” – Gary, Carson City, Nev.

  1. Because it’s what citizens expect.

“Today, our residents expect high-tech, web-based apps. They also don’t expect to have to wait for info or services.” – Edward, Washington, D.C., Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department

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