The New Year is a time for reflection and celebration. As local governments gear up for a whole new year of community engagement, you want to take a step back and look at how you might reach new people or reactivate community members who haven’t engaged with you in some time. While setting goals for 2024, it’s also an ideal time to explore new strategies and tools.
In 2023, we launched our updated Events feature and have already seen it help boost engagement: 54% of event attendees had never contributed to their city’s consultation before. And our early results tell us that events are the perfect introduction to the world of participation – they have a strong ability to attract residents who are early in their participation journeys. In fact, 46% of event attendees contribute to other projects!
So, how can you embrace the power of hosting events in your community? Let’s explore which types of events you could organise and how CitizenLab’s event feature makes event management easier.
Event ideas for local governments
Ready to host your own event and increase community engagement? Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of the most popular event types and included a few success stories to inspire you.
- Kick-off events to raise awareness, in a celebratory way, about a new project and invite as many people as possible to participate. The New Year is the perfect time to do this – even if you don’t have a new kick-off, use it as an opportunity to create buzz about an ongoing project – you’ll celebrate those who have already engaged while attracting new participants, too.
- Relationship and trust-building events, such as drop-in meet-and-greets for residents to meet Council members, bring up ideas, and share concerns. The Municipality of Houten hosted a meet-and-greet for their community and engaged 345 attendees!
- Information-sharing events, such as neighbourhood-specific meetings that give the community a chance to ask questions and share ideas before engaging in an important project, like a comprehensive plan or participatory budget. The City of Vienna did this for their most recent Local Planning process.
- Project-site events, to get specific feedback on urban planning or public space projects, such as involving parents and children in a discussion on the construction of a playground.
- Reveal events, to share the results of a project such as unveiling the final design or celebrating the finalisation of an urban planning project, or announcing the winners of a community competition like the annual Christmas lights decoration project the City of Ostend is doing.
- Pop-up events, to generate buzz around engaging in a project or to share information – or both! The City of Copenhagen did this recently for the Proposals project by hosting a pop-up at a metro station where they had information about their project ready for parents of young children, a group they wanted to engage more in their efforts.
- Educational workshops, with city leaders who help residents better understand city operations or projects. For example, this workshop in Chile is teaching residents how city departments try to incorporate the gender lens onto everything they do and this one in the Netherlands is focused on expert talks on the local impact of wind turbines.
- Offline voting events, so that you can take a blended engagement approach to your voting projects. And not to worry, you can easily upload the offline votes to your platform to process the final results.
Streamlining event management with CitizenLab
While these event examples have hopefully inspired you to host your own, we realise organizing community events is not without its challenges. One major pain point often encountered by public servants is the reliance on external platforms for event management. These platforms, not being under your direct control, can lead to a host of issues – from inconsistent user experiences to concerns over data security and privacy.
Additionally, the process of managing events through these external platforms or even through the city’s own website can be cumbersome and time-consuming, detracting from the efficiency of the engagement process.
Wouldn’t it be more streamlined if there was a single, comprehensive tool that governments could use for the entirety of a project, including event management? Fortunately, this isn’t just a wishful thought. Enter CitizenLab’s – revamped – community engagement platform Events feature.
It offers streamlined event sign-ups, dedicated URLs for each event for easy promotion, an updated project page for better event discoverability, and more customisation options. Additionally, it allows for direct export of attendee lists, the creation of smart segmented groups for targeted communication, and automated email confirmations and reminders for attendees to help encourage continued participation.
Example of a proposal on the Municipality of Houten’s engagement platform. The text was originally in Dutch and this depiction is machine-translated.
Discover how CitizenLab can help you promote community engagement
Ready to take your engagement projects to the next level? Our enhanced Events feature is your ticket to more engaging, accessible, and successful community gatherings. Book a demo with our team and discover what else we have in store to take your engagement projects to the next level.