At a Glance
The City of Arvada utilizes online community engagement as a way to support residents and provide accurate information around the COVID19 crisis in Colorado. City officials have provided community members a place to connect when interpersonal relationships seem less feasible.
As communities around the globe are grappling with the same health crisis, City of Arvada needed a way to mitigate disinformation, provide an outlet for residents to share their ideas and concerns, as well as provide a comprehensive location for COVID19 related resources to support community needs.
The power of positivity is action-oriented in the City of Arvada as residents are encouraged to share ideas for staying social while physically separated. The message of the project, #WeCanDoThisArvada, was inspired by chalk drawings completed by kids in the community and the simple message, “We can do this!” The engagement site, Speak Up Arvada, allows individuals to recognize and celebrate one another for work being done toward the common good. There is also a private form for individuals to use in sharing their challenges directly with city staff who work to connect needs with resources.
- Timeliness & Validity: In ever-changing circumstances, local governments are the best resource for both providing and collecting updated information as they can assure timeliness & validity.
- Mitigating Misinformation: Serving as a facilitator and host for community conversations allows staff to update information as it evolves and provides timely responses to community members.
- Pro-active specific questions, paired with short videos, simple slides, rich infographics, & digital tools made ‘Speak Up Arvada’ a place the community wanted to utiliize during the crisis.
- The #WeCanDoThisArvada project (around COVID19) drove traffic to the site & brought attention to other projects the city was engaging on.
- Strategically selecting the right digital engagement tools that matched the type of feedback the City needed to support residents, provoked meaningful responses from the community.
- Virtual Town Hall: Creating interactive digital alternatives can be just as effective as speaking at council meetings. Helpful to begin consultation planning with a ‘digital-first’ mindset.
- Digital engagement is more important than ever in the COVID19 environment and it requires a different approach than in-person events; brevity and precision.
- Clarity in the role of the engagement site for COVID19 and understanding of the intended experience of the community is critical for setting up good communications and community interaction.
- Given that the pandemic is evolving daily, so should the digital space reflect current decision-making processes and continuity plans.
- Utiliizing digital tools successfully requires good communication and process description as well as the deployment of a variety of tools to meet a variety of needs.
When speaking on local government responses to COVID-19, “Bang the Table’s EngagementHQ and a host of other products you mentioned are really helping. If we didn’t have these things, it would be much more challenging,” Ben Irwin Chief Communications Manager at the City of Arvada, Colorado.
Who Should Consider?
Any government organization that wants to effectively execute citizen engagement efforts for better project planning, to build trust within their community, and to communicate progress to stakeholders.