In this time of enforced isolation, city leaders are more deeply concerned than ever about issues facing residents and other stakeholders. Yet the stay-at-home order makes community engagement seem impossible. But it’s not impossible—it’s just different. To help city leaders maximize engagement in the COVID-19 era, we created a 6-point Virtual Civic Engagement Strategy—watch our 30-minute webinar for complete details and practical tips on how you can implement it in your city with your team.
Right now, outreach is not the answer. There are only time and resources for true engagement and activation.The Stratiscope Virtual Civic Engagement Strategy utilizes technology and communication protocols to keep leaders connected to the work they have been doing to build and expand shared visions for their cities and projects. As a “slow disaster,” the COVID-19 crisis can’t stop cities from working to engage—and activate—leaders on projects, plans, and general community welfare.
The purpose of virtual civic engagement: To maintain and strengthen the connections previously established through in-person engagement initiatives or launch new initiatives that bring hope and connectedness to the community.
1. Convene standing groups or committees via Zoom to collect a community intelligence snapshot that informs actionable remedies and outcomes. For example: your Homeless Task Force, an interfaith council, a non-profit roundtable, or small business roundtable.
2. Survey leaders to assess the grass-top pulse and priorities in your communities. Via a simple, proven 5-question survey, you can determine ways the community thinks it needs support during this crisis and beyond. Ask questions like “what are your neighborhoods/leaders doing to stay connected?” and share the results widely to create a positive loop of community and engagement from the bottom up and from the top down.
3. Target one-on-one, human connections during the crisis. Make individual phone calls to key leaders. Prepare a script template that follows a simple information collection protocol. For example: How are you doing? What has been working for you? What do you need? Your end goal: Engage one-on-one with key community leaders to let them know they are still valued and not forgotten.
4. Create a leadership map where to pinpoint engaged leaders in geographic zones and then visualize where there are gaps. Use existing knowledge from local police department, special engagement projects, and other city insights. Once gaps are revealed, work with trusted, aligned leaders to see who they know and can connect you to.
5. Host a virtual show-and-tell as a tool to share and collect information. Invite key presenters and experts from the community to share information regarding their work to a larger audience. For example, feature city services or programs, non-profits, or other partner agencies. Format these engagements to highlight city services and key personnel, and build support for long-term ideas as well as foundational work that needs deeper understanding. It’s critical to seed a sense of common purpose to keep the focus on points of agreement versus opposition.
6. Have FUN by running a social media contest that taps into individuals’ desires to share their photos, videos, experiences, updates, reflections, questions, inspirational quotations, and memes, as well as comment and support each other. Kick off daily threads with a prompt that leads to uplifting and positive sharing—and don’t just hope it works: build partnerships with others online to amplify your contest and message.
WATCH THE WEBINAR NOW. It’s an 30-minute conversation that goes deeper on each of the 6 points, providing tips and expanded details for effective virtual civic engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s talk civic engagement.
Need practical guidance on ramping up your virtual civic engagement actions? Have best practices to share? Get the conversation started by contacting us. Stay engaged, and stay well!