Addressing the Problem of Low Public Engagement
By Instant Input’s estimates, only 1/10th of 1% of the population participates in conventional public engagement processes. If 100 people in a population of 200,000 attend a town hall meeting, that’s less than 200 people’s input to represent the entire population, and it’s not enough.
Our current public engagement process is outdated. Town hall meetings, hosting focus groups, or sending mailers are time-consuming and expensive. If small municipalities are looking for public engagement feedback, they can expect to spend $5,000 just for the meeting, and hopefully, enough people will attend.
In-person meetings also severely limit who can participate, even if the desire is there. People who work outside of a 9-5 schedule should also be able to contribute to the conversation and voice their opinions on new projects happening in their area. When town hall meetings are scheduled at 6 PM on a Tuesday evening, every time, the pool of residents who can attend quickly dissolves into small, specific groups that often do not reflect or represent the majority population.
How can we bring up this number in a cost-effective, accessible way?
Public Engagement is One Piece of the Puzzle
Our civic engagement software, Instant Input, is designed to bridge the disconnect between officials and residents and make difficult decisions easier. To achieve better public engagement, we need to improve and streamline the conversation for both sides of every project. Instant Input helps both parties, such as community members, elected officials, or private real estate developers, take a step back and see the whole picture.
For project owners, public engagement is one piece of what they consider for each project. Budget, environmental constraints, existing infrastructure, and more all come into play, but this isn’t common knowledge for community members. Instant Input strives to help and host project information to increase transparency and accountability so community members can better understand the project management process, how many inputs project owners are mitigating, and how project owners and municipality leaders are making these choices.
Instant Input allows project owners to transparently broadcast their project to offer guidance into what elected officials are doing and for community members to know what to expect.
Instant Input's Solution
Communication is the best way to help the community understand each other’s projects and processes. Instant Input’s civic engagement software strives to solve these issues by sharing information with more people. Our software can engage 3x as many people in the public engagement process at a fraction of the traditional cost. Asynchronous, virtual participation is the best way for community members to contribute feedback and submit their comments directly to the project owner’s inbox.
Project owners can add pins to Instant Input’s project map in real-time, updating their pins with new information, the latest progress reports, and new construction photographs. Community members can submit comments, questions, and concerns directly to the project owners.
For government leaders and municipalities, Instant Input provides an excellent way for local citizens to express their feedback appropriately, learn about projects they would’ve otherwise been unaware of, and get more involved in their community without attending the next public meeting.