Engaging Residents Through Relevance – Webinar Highlights

Planning Supervisor TJ McCourt of Raleigh, NC recently joined PublicInput.com to discuss how leading with relevant topics can help build a better relationship between local governments and residents. McCourt and his team received national attention from NRPA’s Parks & Recreation for their Raleigh dog parks project.

By combining online and offline community engagement, Raleigh:

  • Had 4,000 people attended various dog-friendly pop-up events
  • 500 unique comments were captured through online message boards
  • More than 1,200 survey participants

View highlights from the webinar in the video below or use the jump links to find the section that most interests you.

Click a timestamp below to view specific questions and topics:

0:15 – What makes a topic relevant, and what our assumptions may be

0:53 – Will more community engagement lead to more pain for government agencies?

2:25 – The two ways to increase relevance: accessible process and topics of interest

4:26 – TJ McCourt (City of Raleigh) on his department’s award-winning dog parks project

6:40 – Community engagement strategy – online and offline

8:23 – Using initial input to understand and target demographic gaps

9:16 – Online message board engagement – a productive way to get a broad spectrum of opinions

10:26 – Final project results – success in bringing offline and online engagement together and following up

11:31 – Q: Did you have to deal with any “trolls”?

12:50 – Q: Did you differentiate between people right next door to a park versus the public at large?

14:34 – Q: Did you ask the public if they wanted dog park related features and how were they collected?

15:48 – Q: Did the platform save your staff time and resources, or was it used to augment your engagement efforts without an eye on cost savings?

17:25 – Q: Is there a way to apply survey weight?

17:44 – Q: What do compiled comments look like, and how can they be ordered or categorized in different ways?

19:25 – Q: What were some of the barriers you faced…and how were you able to convince leadership this way of doing business?

22:16 – Looking at the Raleigh Dog Parks as a community engagement process

24:38 – Additional examples: Austin, TX and Viriginia Beach

27:59 – The ultimate goal of community engagement – creating a cycle of engagement that builds public trust

28:32 – Q: How were you able to show a return on investment to council and department leadership? How do you tell the story that the money is worth the return?

31:36 – Reaching a wider group of residents

Learn more about engagement software for parks:

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