Our team recently worked with Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to develop an online community engagement plan that would help shape the 2022-23 Budget and guide the future direction of Council-delivered community programs, projects, and services.
The aim of the project was to inform the community about the Council’s budget process and get as much community input as possible by making the process simple, interactive, and fun. It was essential that this process provided a much more inclusive and fairer way for the community to provide input and feedback.
Council created a dedicated budget page that presented 16 diverse projects which aligned with the Community Vision for feedback. Using the Fund It and Form tools, community members were able to prioritize up to five projects and tell the Council about any priorities they may have missed.
The digital format ensured that people who weren’t comfortable or able to bring their ideas forward at a public council meeting could have their ideas heard.
While there was some hesitation about gathering and presenting important information online, our team worked closely with key council staff, particularly the finance team, on how to use our online tools to their full capability and achieve wider, internal buy-in for the platform.
We also ensured that mandatory questions were carefully implemented as specific demographic data had to be captured with every response.
The online platform was also promoted across a diverse range of channels to reach as many people as possible. Everything from social media posts, to media releases, email newsletters, radio ads, and print campaigns with QR codes were used to drive awareness and encourage participation.
Using Social Pinpoint was a huge success. For previous budgets, Council generally received around 50-60 submissions from the community. For the 2022-23 Budget, they received more than 2,400 (that’s a 3900% increase).
Using the Fund It tool to substantially increase engagement proved to be critical to the success of this new approach and the Council plans to continue using it for their Budget projects every year.