Citizen engagement is nothing new. It’s been conducted in one form or another since the dawn of democracy: Citizens and their elected leaders have met in a variety of ways to exchange ideas and thoughts on policies, processes and more. Until recently, however, this engagement happened in a relatively few ways: Town hall meetings printed fliers, telephone calls and in-person discussions.
Those citizen engagement methods are still valid today. But we all know the landscape of engagement has drastically changed. The evolution of technology has radically disrupted citizen engagement, and it’s often a struggle for agencies and government employees to keep up with all the ways they can interact with the public . Sending e-mail and participating in social media don’t necessarily cut it anymore – but what else should you be doing?
To help you brainstorm, GovLoop presents our latest guide, Your Citizen Engagement Checklist: 18 Strategies for Success. This is a collection of citizen engagement ideas meant to inspire, inform, enlighten — and, we hope, delight. There are many radically creative ways to engage citizens, but here are the most intriguing.
Interspersed throughout these bite-size bits of strategy and ideas are interviews with three pioneers in the civic engagement space. We sat down with Sarah Kaczmarek, digital communications manager at the Government Accountability Office; Steve Spiker, co-founder of OpenOakland, a nonprofit that encourages engagement around open data; and Jenn Gustetic, NASA’s head of developing community challenges and innovation.
So read on. We hope that these 18 ideas will inspire you to add to your citizen engagement toolkit. As the world, government and technology continue to evolve, so must your strategies — after all, citizen engagement was never about one method of communication. It’s about dozens of them. We’re here to help you figure out which ones will work best for you.