Learn & Share
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We’re always working to improve Polco so that you can maximize your community engagement. That means that you may notice changes as you’re using the Polco platform.In the Product Updates section, we’ll give you a heads up about what’s new on the Polco platform, explain changes you may notice, and let you know when we release new features. Our Product team has some exciting things in the works, and we can’t wait to share them with you! If there’s something you’d like to see on Polco, or you have a suggestion or idea for a change to our platform, check out the Ideas category.
Groups are a place to connect with other Polco pros about specific topics. For example, you may be looking for a place to talk to other community leaders who have done The National Community Survey (The NCS) or The National Law Enforcement Survey (The NLES). You may want to connect with other communities or departments with specific goals, such as public libraries or school districts. We keep certain groups private since they apply only to specific admins on Polco. You can request to join a group at any time and one of our Community Managers will review your request.Looking for a group that doesn’t yet exist? Let us know by replying to this post!
One of the best things about working at a startup is that we don’t just build it once and call it “done”. Polco is very much a labor of love for those of us who believe that stakeholder engagement is crucial to well-functioning organizations. And just as we encourage you to reach out and gather data to make informed decisions, we do the same at Polco. From our Engineering Team to Client Success, we listen and learn from you and others in our field so we can focus on continuous improvement. In just the last year, we have moved from the first version of the platform to a newer, improved model based on client feedback. We have changed pricing to give more organizations and local governments an opportunity to use Polco and have provided clients with the ability to customize their experience. Polco launched our new respondent experience, opened the Polco Library, and more. We know that all of our changes continually expand opportunities for clients to use Polco in new ways but also reco
Using the Knowledge BaseTutorial
Think of the Knowledge Base as a treasure trove of answers to all your Polco questions. Here you’ll find FAQs, tutorials, and how-tos. We compiled the answers to all the questions that people ask us about using Polco and put them right here. Here’s how we split things up: Basics: Wondering how to choose a plan, edit a logo or description, or get help? This is the place to find the very basics. Everyone starts somewhere, and we suggest you start here :) Create Your Content: This is where we answer allll your questions about creating surveys, polls, and live events. Engagement & Outreach: How many ways are there to say “please take my survey”? Look here for social media templates, sample press releases, email list uploads, and engagement strategies. Then sit back and watch the responses roll in! Understand Your Data: Your responses are in, and now it’s time to understand, interpret, and share them. Look here about everything from participation rates to reports and much more. Webinars
We know you love hearing from other communities using Polco. In this section, you’ll find a number of articles and discussions about how communities like yours are using Polco.Check out Best Practices for expert tips about using our platform to get feedback. Scroll through Community Stories to read about cities and organizations around the country who used Polco to make data-driven decisions. Find the latest news about our surveys, our research, and other products from Polco in Polco News. Go off-topic, get to know the Polco community, and engage in some friendly competition in Discussions and Competitions. Create a topic to share something you’ve learned, your tips for Polco, and enjoy connecting with other leaders.
Successful organizations know the importance of engagement to build stronger communities and govern responsively. Our online platform has made that engagement easier and effortlessly data-driven. Convenient engagementPolco is online and viewable on all devices, making it convenient for respondents to share their opinions whenever, wherever. Schedule conflicts with in-person meetings are no longer a barrier for your community members. Professionally-written surveysOur data scientists at National Research Center continually contribute to the Polco Library. You’ll find content for when you simply want to get a pulse on your community or hear how your members are doing when serious events arise. You can use these surveys and pollsets as they are, look around for inspiration, or make a copy and customize to fit your needs. Verified respondentsWhen your respondents answer, some of them create accounts, providing their full name and zip code. Polco uses a proprietary matching algorithm to mat
Polco is an online civic engagement platform designed to receive ongoing feedback from members of a community. This award-winning tool gives officials data-rich reports and input to make more informed decisions. We deliver the ease and accessibility of online surveys combined with the verification and reliability of in-person engagement. Polco was designed from inception by former public servants for organizations such as local governments, agencies, foundations, universities, nonprofits and more. After spending time at some of the country’s top tech companies, we wanted to bring world-class communication technology to the civic process. Learn more about Polco here.
Using Polco to Engage Community in Bar Harbor, MaineThe gateway to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine is a quaint town of about 5,000. The coastline Town’s rustic charm and exceptional outdoor activities have long attracted artists and nature lovers. In fact, the area is home to summer cottages of elite American families such as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Astors. The Town strives to balance the economic benefits of tourism, while preserving Bar Harbor’s small-town quality of life. Bar Harbor has long held meetings to get feedback from community members. However, audiences were in many cases not reflective of the overall community demographics. Learn More Here
How to Build an Environment for Civil, Civic Engagement Online-Show Notes with Michelle Kobayashi and Amanda Baker- 2020 was a tough year. COVID-19 turned our world upside down. Some are arguing that there is a second pandemic happening at the same time -- a pandemic of civil discord. One where our nation is struggling to get along. However, people who have been in local government for a while are not strangers to polarizing events. Issues that impact communities and homes are very personal and people feel very passionate and sometimes quite fierce. Many online engagement platforms intend to get neighbors together to solve community problems and collaborate. However, often these platforms become the very opposite of civil.“Even though we have good intentions, it doesn’t always turn out civil or productive when we don’t understand the best ways to get folks together to collaborate,” said Michelle Kobayashi, Senior Vice President of Innovation at Polco. How can we use technology to redu
- By Jen Aceto -Polco Live allows local governments conduct real-time engagement at remote or in-person events Polco’s new live polling feature lets local governments hear from residents instantly. Polco Live allows local leaders to poll their communities in real time, delivering insightful feedback while keeping their communities engaged. The new feature is custom-made to gather crucial information about any issue in numerous settings, whether it be a streaming event, a video call, or an in-person meeting. Polco Live integrates with live video streaming services like Facebook and YouTube Live, allowing for a completely virtual community engagement experience.“Imagine being able to propose policy in either a virtual setting or an in-person one and in an instant receive feedback, data and comments from your audience to inform decision making,” said Polco CEO Nick Mastronardi. “We believe this not only changes the game for local governments now in the COVID-19 pandemic, but for the futu
National Survey Reveals Resident Perceptions of Community Equity and Inclusion - By Michelle Kobayashi -A new study by National Research Center at Polco provides a rare and insightful look at equity and inclusion in US communities, according to the residents.Along almost any definition of “diversity,” the United States has become more and more diverse over the last couple decades. And with it, cities are grappling with questions about equity and inclusion. They are asking themselves if there are systemic biases they may not have been aware of previously. Local governments are looking to understand if residents feel welcome, if diversity is an organizational value, and if community-members think their government is just.“Community populations continue to evolve to include new and diverse members. So it is essential to support city leaders with the tools and resources necessary to help understand the needs, expectations, and priorities of all residents, businesses, and stakeholders,” sai
Resident Feedback Guides Sioux Falls to Record-Breaking Economic Growth Over the past few years, Sioux Falls, South Dakota has seen record-breaking economic growth even during the pandemic.“Strong Midwestern values and fiscal discipline allow our City to prosper,” said Jim David, Chief of Legislation and Policy for Sioux Falls.Indeed, a focus on resident feedback and a commitment to making Sioux Falls comfortable, fun, and beautiful has led to the City’s award-winning local economy.Data also show that Sioux Falls residents are happy with the local economy. The City regularly conducts The National Community Survey (The NCS) to gather feedback from community members. Sioux Falls’ residents rate almost all aspects of the City’s economy higher than the national benchmark.“Sioux Falls are leaders in listening to resident priorities to develop their local economy,” said Damema Mann, Director of National Engagement for Polco/National Research Center (NRC). “It has been impressive to see them
Resident feedback guides Bloomington to address COVID-19 budget impacts, saving $390,000 -By Julia Steege-Reimann-Like many communities nationwide, Bloomington, Minnesota faces many simultaneous challenges regarding COVID-19 response.Leaders want to protect residents from the spread of COVID-19, while also helping the economy to recover. Plus, limited ability to engage in-person and constantly changing circumstances make it a struggle to connect with residents, but it is even more of a necessitySo Bloomington’s leaders swiftly began problem solving for how best to reach their residents. They decided to turn to the online civic engagement platform Polco."We selected the Polco platform because of its ability to provide quick snapshots of how constituents we're faring and gather feedback on budget and service issues," said Diann Kirby, Bloomington's Community Services Director. Learn More Here
5 Ways to Streamline Your Community Engagement Tools- By Brian Smith - One community engagement platform can save you time, reduce headaches, and consolidate your engagement efforts The average local government organization has dozens of different community engagement platforms and services. For every feature you can imagine, there is a tool.Sure, you could do the job with 20 different apps, spread across all your departments. But truth be told, juggling all of that is overwhelming and expensive. Not to mention you may have concerns about having so many accounts for related work. Do these apps have good customer service? What about security and privacy?"I want local leaders to focus on improving their community, not pulling their hair out trying to manage many different apps,” said Polco CEO Nick Mastronardi. "So we created a single place for all-of-the-above community engagement solutions. We deliberately built Polco to save local government time, money and effort." Learn More Here
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