As the Manager of Communications and Corporate Strategy for Grey Highlands, Jerri-Lynn Levitt recognized the need for improved citizen engagement. The municipality needed a solution to gather valuable feedback from residents, address community concerns, and communicate effectively about significant changes and projects.
In late 2022, Grey Highlands faced a major project: transitioning from garbage bags to bins. This project required effective communication and feedback mechanisms. The municipality had previously used platforms like SurveyMonkey and social media to engage residents but found limited success, with only around 1% of the population actively participating.
Finding the perfect fit
Jerri-Lynn began researching engagement platforms that could offer a more comprehensive solution. She sought a platform that could provide 24/7 accessibility, encourage community participation, and allow for effective communication on a variety of projects. The goal was to create a consistent strategy for communication and transparency. After thorough research, Grey Highlands chose Social Pinpoint as the ideal solution due to its innovative approach, customizable features, and potential for growth. The platform’s ability to cater to both in-person engagement and online interactions aligned well with the municipality’s diverse population.
Upon implementation, Grey Highlands focused on two primary strategies:
1. Consistency: The municipality ensured the platform was fully populated with various projects from zoning, strategic plans to supporting local businesses before its official launch. This approach was designed to attract and retain users, fostering an environment where community members would return for more engagement opportunities.
2. Outreach and Engagement: Grey Highlands embraced a multi-faceted outreach strategy. They capitalized on the community’s passion for its natural beauty and created projects that encouraged sharing and discussion. The “Zone Grey Highlands” project, focused on zoning by-law changes, garnered significant engagement due to its relevance and impact on residents.
Grey Highlands measured success by gauging community sentiment and engagement rather than focusing solely on numbers. The primary indicator was the positive vibe generated within the community. By ensuring that the majority of residents felt engaged and heard, the municipality considered its efforts successful. Over time, the goal was to build a trusted brand and create a go-to platform ‘Connect Grey Highlands’, for residents seeking information and engagement opportunities.
Grey Highlands has a clear roadmap for the future. The municipality aims to expand its use of Social Pinpoint’s advanced tools and features. The goal is to continue populating the platform with relevant and engaging projects while building a strong online presence. This includes encouraging sharing, integrating user-generated content, and offering a consistent space for community engagement.
By transitioning to Social Pinpoint, Grey Highlands has transformed its approach to community engagement. By combining an innovative platform with a
well-thought-out strategy, the municipality has successfully connected with residents, fostered meaningful discussions, and laid the foundation for transparent and inclusive decision-making processes. Through ongoing efforts, Grey Highlands continues to evolve as a leader in online citizen engagement, demonstrating that even rural communities can harness the power of technology to build stronger connections.