Structuring how an organization uses Polco leads to successful outcomes. Your engagement strategy should incorporate outreach that results in meeting the needs of your changing community as well as addressing the organizational engagement goals of stakeholders.
Many times organizations are eager to get started once they learn about all of the feedback they can get from their residents, but they struggle with how to structure their engagement. Here are some best practices to follow:
Collect topic ideas from all over your organization, but have only one or two people manage the timeline.
Some communities have a small committee meet to discuss general topics to post regularly, but no more than two people should manage the actual posting process by setting deadlines for questions, visuals and other information needed for each question.
Use all departments to publicize organizational questions.
Many times in a municipality, the police or other departments have a separate social media presence. All Polco questions should be publicized throughout all departments, so that, for example, followers on the police Facebook page can also see public works questions.
Expand your reach for a broader audience.
In-person meetings can be excellent opportunities for input, although they are typically poorly attended and/or have participation from passionate, and sometimes uncivil, individuals who represent only a minority voice from the community. An effective engagement approach will fit with the busy schedules of your residents and include an online option that will allow interested residents to provide informed input conveniently and on their schedule. Polco is a real-time tool that can be used as an audience-participation device for receiving immediate feedback at meetings. It could also be used as part of your elected body’s legislative process, allowing you to collect real-time input from people in the audience as well as residents who are web-streaming remotely. Millennials and post-millennials aren’t on Facebook; they are on Instagram and Snapchat. Consider opening social media channels solely for Polco questions to reach this important demographic. Also reach out to community organizations to broaden your audience.
Always have input on topics and final question wording, particularly on subjects that might be sensitive.
Asking clear questions can be tough, and imprecise language can a) not provide the data you want or b) open up a sensitive topic before everyone in the organization is ready. Have someone proofread all questions before they’re posted, to help prevent these issues.
Use reliable data to make decisions.
Because it can verify around 70% of respondents as registered voters, Polco gives you confidence that you are hearing from your desired audience. Polco can also provide demographic information about the respondents that can help identify differences in sentiments between geographic areas and demographic groups. Using Polco, decision-makers can be more informed and confident in the results.
Polco’s online engagement software is designed to help you get input from a broader section of the community because it is made for busy people. It should be a significant component of your overall engagement strategy.