The City of Sydney makes stellar use of the EHQ Guestbook tool for its social sustainability project

One of the strengths of EngagementHQ is the variety of tools available for use for online consultations. The Surveys function is the most popular tool, with the Discussion Forum tool a close second. The Guestbook, on the other hand, is not as widely used, so when we saw the City of Sydney using this tool to ask people to make a pledge to their city, we had to highlight this very creative and unique way to engage a community. social sustainability

Client: City of Sydney, Australia.

Project: A City for All: towards a socially just and resilient Sydney

Publish Date: Early March 2016

Topic: The City of Sydney is developing a social sustainability policy to strengthen the city’s social fabric. Community members are asked to make a pledge to help make the city inclusive, connected, livable and engaged.

Tools: Survey, Guestbook

Widgets: Photo, Key Dates, Document Library, Lifecycle, Who’s Listening, 2x Custom (Twitter and further information)

What we love the most

The creative use of Guestbook

The Guestbook is not often used across EngagementHQ sites. Usually, the Forum tool works better to encourage community discussions. However, in this case, the Guestbook is the perfect way to ask Sydneysiders to commit to such an important cause. There is some research suggesting taking a pledge increases the likelihood of following through on their pledge.

Look and feel

The City of Sydney has always preferred a clean and image-based look to their consultations. After all, Sydney was the first to use a prototype of our popular ‘Whitehaven’ template. This project is no different and is a joy to look at.

Survey design

Alongside the Guestbook, the team has produced a well-designed survey. The survey is split into different sections, is short and easy to complete. It contains links to key documents but still provides enough high-level information for participants to complete the survey quickly. It is complimentary to the very open and creative approach on the Guestbook.

Overall campaign

The City of Sydney always does a terrific job of driving visitor traffic to their sites and this time is no different. They have one of the most visited EHQ sites of all time! Granted, they have a big team but they also know what they are doing and tick all the right boxes. They use as many tools as they can to suit their cause including Twitter, news releases, newsletters, whatever else is required.

Document library

We always emphasize how important it is to provide documents in small and easily accessible files. That means as PDFs and preferably smaller than 2MB. The document library in this project is a great example of how to break down a large document (28MB) into its various parts and make it easy to read and accessible for everyone.

For further consideration


Although the landing page has people featured in the project image, once you go to the project page, there aren’t any images of people. People love seeing people, and it is particularly important for a project that is all about social sustainability, which is all about people.

Hashtag specific Twitter feed

The Twitter feed in the project is the generic Sydney Your Say feed. While there is nothing wrong with that, the consultation actually has its own hashtag (#Sydney4all). This gets lost a little in this project and could have been emphasized by a hashtag specific feed.


We are always looking out for great projects that use EHQ’s engagement tools in unique ways and this project provides another great site example. The City of Sydney is constantly engaging their community both on small matters as well as important, big topics such as social sustainability. This project is yet another example of fantastic online community engagement by the City of Sydney.

NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 03 April 2016. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.

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