The amount of young people who vote in elections in the UK has been steadily declining over the past number years and a recent study by Buzzfeed showed that it is because the younger generations feel nobody cares what they think, or they didn’t see how their vote was relevant. As a person who is constantly promoting the importance of citizen engagement and community organizing, there is nothing more frustrating than hearing “we can’t make a difference”. In an age where we know this is the opposite of the truth, it is merely a “get out of jail free card”.
So How Do We Change People and Their Mindset?
People who care are those who actively go out and work hard when they feel they aren't being listened to. They are the people who show up at town hall meetings for public consultation processes, they are the people who use their vote because they aren’t naive to think it doesn’t count and they are the people who start their own political party if they can’t find one to identify with.
There is no quick fix for the frustration many groups feel, it takes years to cause this much damage and it will take years to remedy. The one thing on our side, however, is the way we are communicating with each other.
Citizens are changing the way they communicate and expect direct, convenient and personalized engagement. The age of digital engagement should be used to our benefit and yet we are not capitalizing on it. Is it because Governments and other organizations forgot what a priority citizen engagement is? Have they failed to see what an advantage new technologies and innovations such as Voxcitio and CiviCRM can bring to the table?
Findings in the Citizen Engagement Modernization in the State Contact Center study include the following:
While 72% of government leaders recognize that digital communication is the fastest-growing form of citizen-to-government communication, many of today’s contact centers don’t support popular digital communication channels.
The majority of respondents leverage their websites (61%) to engage citizens, but fewer use social media (36%), mobile (22%), text or online messaging (5% and 7%, respectively).
It is surprising to many that we aren’t utilizing mobile methods more for citizen engagement. From producing our own engagement software Voxcitio, we know first-hand the difference it can make.
Voxcitio is simple to use and helps build stronger relationships with individuals, especially during these times when communication with workers unions is essential.
For local government and other community-focused organizations, citizen engagement is a pressing need but very hard to achieve without a large drag on resources. Voxcitio steps into this space to offer all the tools you need to scale up one-to-one relationships with the people who are important to you.
Starting either with a database of citizens or with a blank slate, organizations can build a database of citizens and map them out for easy visualization and management. Citizen surveys, data collection, and issue tracking allow even a very small team to conduct extensive citizen engagement on an ongoing basis.
Building on this engagement project teams can keep up to data with citizen requests and suggestions, they can keep citizens in-the-loop with email blasts and they can see detailed analytics on citizen feedback for reporting purposes.
This is largely where all our disenfranchisement begins. Not being kept up to date excludes people from the conversation and where is the collaboration then? Most projects and policy making need the input of the people that will be directly affected. The same goes for cuts to pay, how will a Minister who earns $120,000 a year understand the cut of $50 a week to someone's wage packet. Unfortunately, they won't. Being out of touch isn't anybody's fault if you ensure you still have communication channels open to the outside.
Never before has it been possible for so much citizen engagement to be done with so little resources and that’s the beauty of some of these new technologies.
If you want to learn more about how Voxcitio can help you with Citizen Engagement, why not get in touch below: