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5 Ways to Streamline Your Community Engagement Tools

4 min read
March 5, 2021

- 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."

1) One Account, One Source of Truth

An account for this. Another account for that. And yet another for that other. 

We know what a hassle it is to have different subscriptions and services within several different departments of your organization. Who can keep track of all that?

By centralizing your engagement, survey data is gathered in one place for quick and easy access. With Polco, you can share access with the various departments of your city or organization.

As various departments survey residents under one account, you’ll build an ever-broadening pool of respondents, something we call a panel. Over time, your panel following will gain a diverse range of residents interested in many different topics. This means you can get a more representative sample from the community, rather than hearing from the same vocal few interested only in one subject. From public safety to economic development, residents with various interests can continually find new opportunities to give you feedback that can help improve their community.

2) Save Time by Building a Verified Panel

When you create a survey, how do you ensure that no one voted more than once? How do you prevent a special interest group from hijacking the survey? How can you be sure each response came from your community specifically?

Polco gives you the option to verify respondents so you can trust that your survey results are not artificial or inflated. This process works as respondents register for their own accounts on Polco. They provide their name, zip code and email address. This information is then verified against voter registration records. Inline with Polco's privacy policy, individually identifying data are never shared or reported. With verification, you’ll be certain your survey is secure from pesky internet trolls who don’t even live in your community.

Also, verified respondents are notified when you post new surveys. This makes outreach efforts easier as you won’t have to start from scratch when promoting each new survey. Plus, with verified panels, residents don’t have to repeatedly enter their information to take a survey. 

3) A Focus on Privacy Builds Trust, Improves Engagement

Privacy takes away the fear of sharing honest opinions. And at Polco, privacy is everything. 

Polco never shares personally-identifiable information or individual survey responses with clients or third parties. Rather, we report all our survey and poll data in group form only. 

When residents know their information is secure, they feel more comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions to powerful institutions such as local government.

Polco’s community engagement platform allows you to build trust time-and-time again.

This commitment to privacy also applies to our clients. Our benchmarks allow cities to compare results with each other across the nation as a whole, without ever distributing individual reports.

4) Save Effort and Headaches with Great Customer Support

Polco’s community engagement platform was built with you, the local government leader, in mind. That’s because many of our staff are former public servants themselves. Our team is made up of top-notch software engineers, survey scientists, and community engagement experts. 

We speak your language, and we get it. We have lots of resources, from case studies to articles in our Knowledge Base to help you get started right away.

Great customer service shouldn’t cost you extra — we’re here for you. Polco has real humans waiting to answer any of your questions. Our Customer Development team is standing by, ready to offer guidance, demos, or technical assistance.

5) Advanced Features All in One Place

Local government engagement is unique. Don’t use a community engagement platform made for individuals or the private sector.

Polco has advanced features that were built specifically for the civic environment. You don’t have to depend on multiple apps to get all the engagement tools you need.

You’ll be able to gain rich insight into your residents’ opinions with Polco’s respondent location mapping, and advanced demographics such as age and gender.

We also know it can be difficult to write a great survey. And, you have a lot on your plate already. So we built the Polco Library. This feature includes well over 50 (and counting) pre-made surveys on relevant, timely issues that can be edited to fit any use case. All Library surveys are designed by survey scientists with more than 30 years of experience from National Research Center (NRC) at Polco.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Cities around the nation to reconsider how they engage with residents. Residents have come to expect online opportunities to have their voices heard. So we built Polco Live. This new feature allows local governments to instantly poll residents whether at virtual or in-person meetings. Polco Live transforms static presentations into dynamic and engaging events.

“We’re very focused on making sure those who use our platform are taken care of,” said Cory Poris Plasch, Vice President of Strategic Development. “We’re experts in helping new or existing clients with any number of issues, from survey creation to outreach and more. We go the extra mile to ensure that Polco saves you time, energy, money.”

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