- By Matt Fulton, Polco / NRC Vice President of National Engagement -
Without question, successful leaders place a priority on strategic operations, performance, and growth based on a clear understanding of community characteristics and resident expectations. These local governments have intentionally established an appropriate level of engagement with residents and stakeholders, creating a safe and civil approach to building a vibrant community.
Trust and communication about the many responsibilities of building strong communities are key.
The interesting thing about community engagement is that while it doesn’t just happen, the concept is simple. Your residents really do want to connect with you. There is a natural interest in knowing about the many things going on in the neighborhood. And because everything happens locally, everyone can find something to be interested in. Everyone wants to live in a place where things that are important to them are readily available.
Then why do most public meeting rooms sit nearly empty? Life is complicated and busy and priorities need to be made. For most, that means decisions about building the community are left to the elected and appointed local officials who dedicate themselves to doing the best they can with the important work they do. In a static environment, this approach might work just fine.
The reality is that communities are evolving at an increasingly fast pace. Residents’ needs and expectations are rising.
What happens when the balance between community changes and evolving taxpayer / stakeholder interests isn’t managed or maintained? Well, that’s when cities and towns find themselves struggling with distrust, incivility, and honestly, moving forward. That is why finding an effective, meaningful and convenient way to engage residents is key to success.
You need to accommodate for busy life schedules. You need to make two-way communication easier. You need to be smart about engagement.
Polco is an award-winning, smart solution for community engagement. We help local decision-makers like you create ongoing conversations with residents online around issues and projects you need input for. As the only technology firm ever to be named a Savings and Solutions Enterprise Partner for the National League of Cities (NLC), Polco makes smart engagement affordable and easy.
Polco uses micro-surveys online to produce reliable results in real time. You get immediate answers to your important questions from the people you need to hear from. Our unique process lets you see demographic data and map verified resident sentiment down to the neighborhood level. In other words, Polco makes it easier for you to engage your community on a regular basis in a civil and constructive way.
Let’s work together to build an effective, smart, community engagement program. Learn more at Polco.us.