3 ‘Outside of the Box’ Ideas to Become More Efficient at Handling Public Requests
It happens all the time – a member of your community phones City Hall looking for something, or wanting to voice a concern in front of Council, but they aren’t sure who to talk to, or where to start. Pointing people in the right direction is an integral part of being a Clerk, but it sure would save a lot of time if the public had a better idea of how the local government decision-making process works! Here are 3 ideas that can help make the job of your Clerk easier:
The City of Indianapolis, its Chamber of Commerce and the organization People of Urban Progress have created a great infographic called The People’s Guide to City Government. It’s a great resource to help the community better understand how local government decisions are made, and where they should go to participate. Costing anywhere from $500 – $1500 and being created by almost any marketing agency, infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than text articles. (See this infographic on infographics!)
2. Social Media
Become part of the growing social media conversation (1 in 4 people now use a social media network!). More and more people are expecting information on Social Media as soon as it’s available. By getting meeting related information onto Twitter and Facebook you can answer questions, or provide information to your entire community on-demand with one click. A great example is the City of Issaquah’s Twitter Page. There are many tools out there, that will tweet or post info to Facebook automatically like Hootsuite.
3. Online Forms
To reduce the number of phone calls being handled by Clerks, many local governments are using online forms for their website. Members of the public fill out a form when they have a request and the Clerk gets an email notification instantly. You can build a form in most web platforms. We’ve seen everything from a general request to appear before Council, to forms designed to gather feedback for a specific hot button issue being discussed in a community. The City of Woodland actually has a system in place, so the public can track a request’s status.
Has your organization done anything innovative to manage public requests more efficiently? We’d love to hear about them. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.