Have you ever seen an advert from your local council asking you for your opinion on a recent change or project in the community? Well, they often use citizen issue tracking to collect this information, and although you may feel as though your opinion doesn’t add value, you are wrong. You may be fooled into thinking that you should just eave everything to the elected representatives and professional, or maybe you are skeptical as to if your opinions will be considered. However, been involved in community engagement is certainly no waste of time and there are numerous reasons you should get involved.
Your Opinion Counts
Decision-makers will genuinely want to hear your feedback and ideas. Community engagement is an important part of many projects and the benefits are proven. Some of these include community ownership, lower project costs, and better outcomes for stakeholders. Effective community engagement is all about recognizing that the involvement of the public in a project is no longer about information dissemination, it’s about a two-way information sharing tool.
More Perspectives Are Seen
Community engagement can often be heavily one-sided, especially when you only get the same people having an input with their strong opinions. Which is normally a negative opinion. This leaves other perspectives unaired resulting in decision-makers not making the best choice for the community as a whole just because the minority (of loud voices) make sure they have their say. Having additional perspective can lead to a better option, and enhance the value of an end decision.
New Information Becomes Available
Decision-makers know that the community makes use of the spaces and choices that they plan for and they often build a close relationship to an area themselves. Having more public involvement delivers more information for any decision that they make, whether it’s technical, scientific, knowledge about the area, or concern, it’s all about supply context where decisions are going to be implemented. The more information that is given, even if it’s a small opinion, can make the difference between a bad and good decision.
Push for Real Change in Your Community
Getting involved with your community means that you have the opportunity to push for real change. You can help to achieve a common good by banding together with others in your community and taking direct action to make a difference. Writer, speaker, and changemaker Ken Streater says that seeing and doing more good is the key to seeing your community flourish. When you participate in doing positive things, you can start to see your community change for the better. Making a positive change in one part of your community can lead to further improvements in other areas too.
Community benefit And Ownership
When a community becomes involved in a project, they have ownership over it, which includes the decision making process. This is seen as one of the keys to a successful project, even if not every individual agrees with the final project. When a project is finalized, it feels good to see the fruits of your labor, and understanding that you were involved in something that is benefiting the community.
Making Up The Numbers
This doesn’t mean that you are just filling a quota. This literally means that there is more power behind numbers. So, if you have an opinion about how a project could be done better, could befit the community or how you feel it might be wrong, you could find that others share this opinion too. If you stand together you have a stronger voice. Having higher engagement numbers provides confidence to those who are elected to make the right choices.
Online engagement methods are fast becoming more popular, therefore attending public meetings isn’t always needed. Don’t forget to speak up about what you care about. Do you have any tips about participating in your community?