Citizens today have access to a dizzying array of services through a simple internet connection. As more citizens find their news and shape their identities online, they are increasingly expecting governments to utilize new technologies to provide information and services on the devices and platforms they use most. Meanwhile, the rise of social media has allowed sensational and false stories about governments to proliferate with alarming speed, which satisfies citizens’ desire for easily digestible updates about how their governments are operating, but leads to false and divisive conclusions.
Today’s governments are at a crossroads: leverage modern technology to foster an informed and bought-in populace or ignore technological trends and risk alienating constituents. OpenGov firmly believes every government has the ability to utilize today’s communications and engagement technology to best activate and engage their citizenry. Below, we outline six principles governments should follow as they explore proactive citizen engagement strategies:
1. Align Data with Context.
Digitally proactive governments present context along with their data to help citizens frame and ingest the data they are viewing.
2. Set the Norm for How Your Government Communicates.
Find a single platform on which all government publishing of data, context, and soliciting of public feedback can be consolidated.
3. Educate Residents Before They Get to the Table.
Rather than waiting for citizens to grow upset about an issue, proactive governments can ensure citizens have access to the data they need, surround that data with context so people don’t draw the wrong conclusions about it, and communicate stories about that data on social media so rumors and fake news stories don’t spread.
4. Use Technology to Garner Support
Use surveys and feedback mechanisms to understand citizens’ concerns and how the initiative is faring in the public eye.
5. Present Commonly Requested Data to Reduce FOIA Requests.
By hosting information and making it easy to digest, modern technology can help reduce incoming FOIA requests and can expedite the resolution of FOIA requests.
6. Build with an Eye for the Future.
Whether you are choosing to overhaul your citizen engagement strategy or bolster your existing efforts, choose a technology partner with robust, integrated offerings that allow your citizen engagement efforts to grow effortlessly as your capacity increases.
Modern citizen engagement software can help fill in the gaps mentioned above. The OpenGov Cloud™ will help your government surround its data with context and communicate with its constituents in the visually appealing and interactive manner they’ve come to expect.
Consolidate Your Efforts on One Platform
The best communication strategies involve getting the entire organization aligned on a consistent messaging template and technology. Without a robust platform that can support a government’s full citizen engagement needs, departments can splinter off to run their own initiatives, leaving citizens confused about how they will be receiving information in the future. With OpenGov, all citizen engagement initiatives can be streamlined through The OpenGov Cloud™, allowing for government staff and citizens to establish expectations of where the best available information rests and reducing miscommunications and distrust.
See for yourself how The OpenGov Cloud™ can help your government align data with context and take control of the conversation. For more information on how governments can proactively engage with their residents, visit opengov.com.
For a more detailed overview of how governments’ can adopt proactive citizen engagement strategies, read our new eBook - “From Passive to Proactive: Best Practices for Citizen Engagement,” or watch our on-demand webinar, “Combating Noise with Citizen Engagement” and hear how the City of Winchester, Virginia, City of Sandpoint, Idaho and City of Ormond Beach, Florida utilize data to combat noise and support narratives from the public.