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CM Call on Digital Public Participation, Sept. 5

CM_logo-200pxWe are pleased to invite NCDD members to join our partners at CommunityMatters for the next of their monthly capacity-building calls series. This month’s call is titled “Deepening Public Participation – Digitally”, and it will be taking place next Friday, September 5th from 2-3pm Eastern Time. 

We are excited to note that this month’s call features insights from Pete Peterson of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership – NCDD organization member – as well as Alissa Black of the Omidyar Network. The folks at CM describe the upcoming call this way:

Your town is finally in the digital age with a website, online calendar, and Facebook page.  Now you can sit back and relax, right? Not exactly.

An array of online tools is available that can take your digital presence to the next level, promoting collaboration between government and citizens, engaging new audiences, and effectively complementing “analog” face-to-face engagement. It’s time for your town to get online and see what’s out there!

Join the next CommunityMatters® conference call and dig deeper into digital engagement with experts Alissa Black and Pete Peterson. You’ll learn about online public engagement and which digital tools are right for your town.

Make sure to register for the call today!

As always, we encourage you to check out the CommunityMatters blog to read Caitlyn Horose’s reflections on digital public participation as a way to prime your mental pump before the call. You can read the blog post below or find the original by clicking here.

Deepening Public Participation – Digitally

Commutes are too long. Schedules are too packed. Work is too demanding. With today’s busy schedules attending public meetings just isn’t a priority for many people. So how can local government get residents involved in tackling community problems?

The internet is one place that governments are turning for solutions. Digital tools for public engagement can effectively complement in-person meetings, and convenience is only one reason to invest in online participation. Here are several helpful resources to assist in ramping up engagement digitally.

Broadening Public Participation Using Online Engagement Tools outlines five benefits of online engagement: reaching more diverse residents, generating more informed participation, producing concrete data for reporting, and evaluation and setting the stage for sustained participation.

Despite the many benefits of online engagement, there are challenges. Using Online Tools to Engage the Public discusses the challenge of attracting participants and the need for targeted recruitment strategies. Also addressed is the uncertain legal landscape for digital engagement, as some public participation ordinances and policies predate current technology. The PlaceSpeak blog outlines additional issues in digital engagement—technical issues, “lurkers” and the lack of physical cues—with recommended strategies for overcoming them.

Knowing how to select appropriate online engagement tools is an added challenge. There are many considerations—project budget, desired outcomes and a community’s willingness to engage online.

Alissa Black presents a framework for categorizing and selecting digital engagement platforms in Public Pathways: A Guide to Online Engagement Tools for Local Governments. Modifying the IAP2 engagement spectrum, the guide divides the objectives of engagement into four categories: inform, consult, cooperate, empower. The progression of these categories represents a deepening in the level of public participation.

Golden Governance: Building Effective Public Engagement in California advocates for government to deepen engagement. With “deep participation,” citizens are empowered to work with government to make decisions and solve problems. While citizen empowerment shouldn’t be the goal of every public process, it needs to be a tool at the ready. When community members work together on solutions to local problems, there is greater buy-in, more can be done with less, and project stewardship is more likely.

Join Alissa Black and Pete Peterson on our next CommunityMatters conference call Friday, September 5 from 2-3 p.m. Eastern. Learn more about online public engagement and get advice on digging deeper with digital tools. There is no better way to spend your Friday afternoon, so register now!

You can find the original version of this post at www.communitymatters.org/blog/deepening-public-participation%E2%80%93digitally.

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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