Measuring and Framing Diversity Using a Public Involvement Platform
More than just a measure of success, evaluating the effectiveness of public involvement helps inform and improve future engagement efforts as well as provides a foundation for good decision making.
Before engagement diversity can be evaluated, planning, strategy, and tactics must be deployed using a framework that prioritizes diverse input. The framework can look like this:
1. Target & Inform
Understanding your community or project area through the use of community data can help inform the strategy for lowering barriers and increasing opportunities for more diversity in engagement.
→ Take a deeper dive into community context and engagement by downloading our Environmental Justice (EJ) Guide. The guide serves as a go-to resource for publicly available data and platform solutions designed with equity in mind.
2. Tactical Strategy
Public involvement tactics can take on a variety of forms. Whether it be survey responses, testimony, or a personal email exchange, the need for an equitable approach to public involvement that engages a broad demographic is key to effective decision making.
→ Download our Community Needs Assessment Guide to see how a thoughtful and systematic approach of identifying and confirming the needs of the people you serve can support an equitable approach to engagement.
3. Results, Data & Course Correction
As the community contributes input, using a unified method of collecting data by tactic will begin to tell a community story of the respondents from a geographic and socio-economic perspective. Building in opportunities for making needed tactical adjustments will begin the evaluation process by identifying gaps and addressing as needed.
→ Read our earlier post on The Power of Smart Tech: Public Engagement to learn more about how leveraging technology in the analysis process can help do the heavy lifting work and decrease the likelihood of bias and human error.
Establishing public involvement metrics can be a challenging task when considering engagement effectiveness. Engagement diversity can be one of the most powerful indicators that help to both demonstrate compliance to rules and regulations that govern equity as well as illustrate the presence and/or absence of a representative sample (see more below).
Measuring Diversity In Public Involvement
Representative sampling works to target a small group of the community or project area to generate a set of results that mirrors the larger population. Collecting a representative sample supports good decision making by giving voice to the preferences and perceptions of those who may be most impacted by projects and/or decisions.
The following table shows a simple example of how to manually evaluate the presence of representative samples by comparing actual population estimates with public engagement data.
Measuring Engagement Using a Public Involvement Platform
The often manual process of measuring the effectiveness of public engagement can be inefficient, challenging, complicated. When considering how best to establish public engagement metrics that address diversity, using a public involvement platform that takes a unified approach from start to finish can make all the difference.
For many organizations the presence of a community relationship management system, whether it be a distribution list or a software designed for this purpose, understanding the dynamics of resident data is critical to developing insights and evaluating effectiveness.
Unlike any other product on the market, the PublicInput CRM is more than a software to manage information. This living dashboard stores historical data over time and across projects offering the industry leading Equity Mapping feature that enables real-time visualizations of how incoming community input contrasts or aligns with formal community data sources (like U.S. Census demographics).