- Avoiding consultation fatigue: To keep people interested in the current consultation.
- Re-engagement: To bring people back to new consultations.
- Participant retention: To reduce database churn and keep people in the system for the long term.
What would drive people away?
- Failure to deliver on projects that have been consulted on previously.
- Failure to explain why projects couldn’t be delivered.
- Failure to acknowledge previous contributions.
- Failure to report back a summary of the consultation outcomes.
- Failure to report back on the impact of the consultation process.
- Too many emails in general.
- Too many emails about irrelevant subjects.
What can we do to reduce fatigue?
- Acknowledge particularly thoughtful contributions.
- Follow up personally with valuable contributors to have a deeper conversation about their views and suggestions.
- Share thoughtful contributions via social media.
- Share thoughtful contributions at face-to-face events (using panels, slideshows etc.)
- Let contributors know when the consultation process hits major milestones.
- Invite contributors to participate in deeper decision-making processes.
- Distribute a summary email of recent consultation activity.
What can we do to get people to re-engage?
- Consult on interesting subjects that are easy to understand, have concrete impacts and some emotional content.
- Ask interesting and engaging questions.
- Provide a good reason to come back. How will the consultation a ect the outcomes? How will the issue under discussion directly a ect them?
- Provide incentives including prizes or preferred access to processes (e.g. by invitation to Council meetings).
- Personally invite people who have participated in the past to join discussions about new issues.
- Honour the commitment required to participate in the consultation process by closing the loop
What can we do to keep people in the database long term?
- Keep emailed information to a minimum.
- Keep emailed information highly relevant to the individual (potentially by asking them to nominate subjects of interest in the registration form).
- Keep emailed information local by targeting information to people from special suburbs that are more likely to be interested in projects.
- Always close the loop!
Download a copy of this Tip Sheet - http://www.bangthetable.com/category/public-engagement-primers/