Each time a resident interacts with your organization, you have an opportunity to build a stronger relationship - whether it’s visiting a service centre, attending a council meeting, calling 3-1-1, or finding a tax rate on your website. The people who participate in local government consultations are among your most engaged residents, but many of them may be participating for the first time. It’s important to take this opportunity to start a lasting relationship with the resident, to build trust and respect.
As a first step, with Citizen Budget, each time a resident submits a response to a consultation, an email is automatically sent to the resident in which city staff can describe upcoming meetings and events, invite participation in other consultations, or provide links to further educational tools.
However, you can do much more with the contact information and demographic data that Citizen Budget collects for each respondent (provided you also collect permission to contact participants after the consultation). Here are some suggestions from our clients for making the most of Citizen Budget once the consultation is over:
- Send a follow-up email to participants to let them know when the budget is passed and how their input was taken into account
- Create a new “engaged citizens” newsletter to regularly contact participants about new opportunities to participate and give feedback
- Segment your list according to age, gender, income or location to send targeted messages that are relevant to that group: for example, sending information about affordable transportation options for older residents
- Kickstart your Citizen Budget consultation by inviting last year’s participants
In this way, Citizen Budget is not only a consultation tool, but also a way to build relationships with residents, engage residents in continuous dialogue and feedback, and increase their satisfaction with, and commitment to, your municipality.