Your community needs to know that their feedback was valued and what the result was of their participation. By creating useful feedback loops, you can build meaningful, trusting relationships with residents.
1. Express appreciation and communicate next steps
Nobody wants to feel like their input has gone into a black hole. At the end of each interaction, clearly outline what you plan to do with the feedback and any next steps. Acknowledge and appreciate the time given to participate.
2. Show things instead of talking about them
When a resident takes part in building or making something, they can immediately see the result of their action. For example, residents who participate in a Civic User Testing Group exercise see their feedback incorporated into a web page or service redesign, understand that their participation was meaningful and a good use of their time.
3. Keep communication open
Find times to send residents news and information about the topics you’ve discussed with them. Ask residents if they’re willing to give their email address or phone number so you can keep them up to date. Tools like Textizen let you send follow-up messages to residents who take surveys. You can also send emails with tools like Mailchimp that come equipped with analytics you can use to understand how people interact with the emails you send.
4. Collect feedback and make it public
Share feedback publicly so residents can see how their whole community responded. Being transparent like this builds trust and builds consensus about how the community’s input helped you make your decision.