14 Ways To Use Video as a Tool For Online Community Engagement

Video is one of the most powerful tools available to community engagement practitioners. This article provides a list of examples of how it is being used in different parts of the world by different organisations.

Matt posted the video by the Mayor of Wellington NZ introducing their strategic planning project and wrote about Mosman Council’s community vox pops. A couple of weeks back I wrote a long post about using video as an community engagement tool. A reader suggested that it would be a good idea to create a list of such videos to give other folks an idea of the sort of thing that could be created. What a good idea I thought! So I posted a request for such videos to a few of my discussion groups on LinkedIn… and the LinkedIn community came through with the goods. What appears below are a few examples from our own clients along with those very gratefully received from the broader web community and a search of YouTube. (Yes, you need to have access to YouTube to get value out of this blog… so if you don’t have access at work, ask your boss why you can’t have access, or read it at home! 🙂

Video the Boss

This video is taken from one of our consultations for a rural council in New South Wales, Australia. Here the Mayor of Clarence Valley Council talks about an economic development project the Council was seeking feedback on from the local community. The production values are very basic but this does nothing to reduce the value of having the message delivered “in person”. tool for online community engagement


Educational Material

This is a professionally produced video about effluent treatment and wastewater recycling. This is a great demonstration of how video can be used to communicate complez messages about controversial issues.

Key Messages

This is a very simple slideshow video produced by Kiama Council in New South Wales, Australia to support their consultation about the need for a special rates levy.

Community meetings

You can find a host of these on YouTube by searching for “Community Meeting”. Here are just two examples.

Technical Experts

Another waste water treatment video. This time featuring direct to camera interviews with the site staff.

Site Visits

I couldn’t find an example of a “site visit” video by a project proponent, so here’s one by a community group inspecting the an area apparently damaged during a development process.


A fairly tedious but nevertheless excellent example of power of a computer generated “fly through” video.

Vox Pops – Citizen Testimony

As part of its strategic planning consultations, Mosman Council (Sydney, Australia), posted a number of citizen submission vox pops to its website as part of an online engagement strategy.

Community Submissions

A great little video submission by two youthful users of the Grafton (NSW, Australia) library.

Webcast your Council Meetings

Carol Hayward, now based in New Zealand, but previously at Bristol Council in the UK, made the following comment on the Community Engagement discussion group on LinkedIn.

In Bristol, where I used to work, council meetings are webcast which helped to show people directly how their input was being considered and how decisions were being made. Just videoing a 3-4 hour council meeting isn’t really helpful to most potential viewers though – it’s also very important to have good indexing so that people can jump to the point in the agenda they’re interested in.

An example of an archived webcast can be found here.

General Government News

Laura Sommer, also from the Community Engagement group on LinkedIn…

Seattle City has been using indexed online video for some time to engage with their ratepayers.

Seattle City is making fantastic use of video here

Humanise your people

A number of US legislatures have set up their own YouTube channels. This is a demonstration of the power of video to humanise the members of the legislature.

Online Townhall

Perhaps the best known use of online video by a politician to date is Barack Obama’s Online Townhall as part of the online engagement strategy “Open for Questions”.

Promote your Place

Perhaps the best use of YouTube yet to promote a place… the Queensland Tourism Authority’s “The Best Job in the World” campaign.

Photo Credits: Canticleer Blues

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