Getting Started? Here’s How to Polco
Polco is a user-friendly community engagement and survey platform that delivers insights you can rely on. If you’re just getting started with Polco, check out this 12-minute demo. Community engagement expert Suleima Garcia describes how to Polco.
How to Polco
When you first log in to Polco, you’ll automatically be taken to the participant overview. Here you can visually see the total overall number of people who have subscribed to your Polco profile and how that subscriber count has grown over time. You can also see the number of total responses to all the questions that have been posted on this profile, and how that has changed in the past 30 days. When you scroll a bit further, you can view select demographic information about your subscriber base, including the general residence location of verified subscribers (see more information about verification below!), as well as gender, age, and race breakdowns.
The content section of Polco is where you can view and manage your surveys and polls. To create a piece of content, click the green “Create” button on the top right of your screen, and select the content type you want.
When you create a survey or poll, you’ll need to add a title and a description. Within the description, you can add a picture or video (or URL linking to information hosted elsewhere) to provide more context. We also recommend selecting a featured image that aligns with your topic. You can then begin to create questions, choosing from several different question types such as free text, multiple choice, grid choice, and point allocation. If you aren’t ready to publish the survey right away, remember to save as a draft!
If you’re looking for inspiration about what to ask your community, check out the Polco Library. There, you’ll find surveys and poll sets created by experts from our National Research Center team, which are available for use with any Polco subscription plan. The Polco Library features content about timely and relevant topics such as equity and inclusion, police-community interactions, homelessness, short-term rentals, and much more. These surveys have been designed by our in-house survey scientists to provide you with reliable and actionable data, and the Library is continuously expanding. You can use surveys from the Polco Library as they are, or customize them to fit your specific needs.
After you’ve published a survey or poll in Polco and people are responding to it, the system will ask respondents for their zip code, email address, and name. This will create an account for the respondent and subscribe them to your profile, so they receive email notifications about future content you post. In this way, they become your Polco followers!
Polco then verifies respondents’ zip codes and names against voter registration records, which enables the system to show aggregated demographic information related to subscribers’ age range, gender, race, and location on the participant overview dashboard. Again, participants’ responses and contact information are kept confidential, and individually identifiable information is never reported or shared.
Polco is designed for easily sharing your content with your audience. When you publish a survey or poll set, you’ll receive a URL to share however you like. You can also opt to send an email notification to all existing subscribers to your profile, inviting them to participate. There is also an email list upload option in Polco, which allows you to import an external list of email addresses and share your survey or poll directly with that specific group of people. Finally, you can choose whether to make your content public or visible only to select individuals who have received a URL.
Individual surveys can provide you all sorts of data. Click on the Results tab to see the full responses for each question. If you’d like, you can filter results by key words or toggle between different respondent groups (all responses, registered voters, or subscribers to your profile). You can also view survey results in the form of bar graphs, word clouds, and more.
To dig deeper into the data, take a look at the Advanced Results tab. There you can select individual questions and view how results may differ by respondents’ verification status, gender, age range, and geographic area.
You can also download a report, which you can print or share in PDF form with others. The report could include an overview of all the data or you could choose to include breakdowns by precincts, age range, gender, city council commissioner district, and more.
We hope this article helps you get started with Polco, but the Polco team is here to help with any questions you might have along the way! Feel free to check out the Knowledge Base on Polco Connect for an assortment of resources, tutorials, and best practices. If you have a specific question, you can add a topic right on Polco Connect or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know if you have questions. We look forward to working with you!