Why Should Municipalities Make Resident Communication a Priority?
Communication is critical in every relationship. The relationship between local government and its residents is no exception. Now, more than ever, municipalities are choosing to make resident communication a priority in their governing strategy. The “how, what and when” of communication are key considerations for municipalities that are looking to reach their residents with important and helpful information. Let’s take a closer look at transparency, engagement, and being proactive with resident communication.
Transparency is the government’s obligation to share information with citizens, and it is how citizens hold their public officials accountable. Transparency also helps build trust between government and residents regarding all aspects of governance. It is no surprise that municipalities that are open and honest with pushing out information to residents are more trusted. Residents want to connect with their local government, but want to feel that the communication is accurate and reliable.
It is often said that an engaged resident is a happy resident. When residents are unaware or misinformed about basic information related to the municipality – such as scheduled meetings, new ordinance information, or community resources, it causes tension. Those municipalities that stay connected with their residents can avoid this problem.
Finally, like any communication, it is best for municipalities to be proactive when they give information to residents. When residents know information in advance, they can better understand and adapt to the information, or to the change. For example, if the rules have changed on municipal burning, give the information to residents up front and prior to the active date. The timing or “when” information is provided to residents can make a positive difference.