Invite-Only: A Solution for Stakeholder Engagement Problems
By Nouvella Kusi | Jan 20, 2022 11:59:24 AM
3 min read
For our first feature update of 2022, we’ll be taking a closer look at the long awaited ‘Invite Only’ feature, and what it means for your projects!
Over the years we’ve helped countless local authorities, developers and housing associations engage with communities of varying sizes, and we’ve learned along the way that sometimes, a key element of public participation strategy is working with a defined, pre-built audience list.
Why is this a unique feature?
Commonplace provides open online tools, making it easy to encourage far-reaching participation. We’ve proven this by reaching over 4.6m people across the UK. However, our customers in local government and housing associations have asked us for a Commonplace they can use when a more bespoke approach is needed. For example, housing associations looking to engage only specific groups of residents, or decision-makers carrying out statutory pre-planning stakeholder engagement needing to reach a very specific group.
To meet these requirements, we’ve created a ‘by Invitation only’ option - “Invite-Only” Commonplace. This means you won’t have to worry about the contribution of anyone outside the group you need to consult.
The “Invite- Only” option is part of a wider development of tools for specific stakeholder engagement, called “Commonplace Select”.
Why do you need this feature, and how would you make the most of it?
We know that prior to announcing plans, some customers want to make the most of early stakeholder discussions, whether they want to engage local businesses, or are just required as part of preliminary research. We’ve enabled the ‘Invite Only’ feature option so that through the whole process, the data is gathered all in one place on the Commonplace Dashboard, which will allow you to draw conclusions on trends more easily by measuring public opinion on highly targeted and specific stakeholder ideas.
How to engage community members using the By Invitation Only feature:
Just like the rest of our features, we’ve made this as simple as possible. Engagement pages will follow the usual set-up process and will look the same as their regular Commonplace equivalent. All we ask of you is to upload a list of residents, patients, tenants, stakeholders, businesses or whoever your key audience is. We will then send them a unique link by email, inviting them to respond on a private site for your survey. When they click through, they’ll see a page like the one below:
As we are a transparent platform, we always advise customers to run a public consultation alongside the Invitation-Only one, to ensure you have a benchmark of public sentiment and to keep the community included at each stage in the process. In line with keeping things transparent, there will also always be an 'online footprint' so that the public will be aware that there is an Invite-only engagement taking place, as we still want to encourage public awareness around each stage of the engagement process.
The benefits of using Invite-Only engagements:
Gather feedback while protecting vulnerable groups or stakeholders
Invite-Only presents the opportunity for local residents to share their ideas and suggestions in a safe space. This means individuals feel free to engage openly with the survey knowing their contribution is valued.
Increase the accuracy of the data and feedback you’re gathering
This hassle-free nature of an Invite Only engagements means that you can trust that the feedback you’re getting is from people who are directly related to the topics and areas being discussed, therefore you’re likely to get more detailed and accurate data from the feedback, as opposed to commentary from campaigners that can often skew feedback.
Use in combination with Hidden Comments to discuss sensitive topics in a controlled environment - the full Commonplace Select experience.
Hidden Comments accompany Invite-Only engagements. This means the contribution of one is not influenced by any other views they may see represented on the engagement. This is of particular importance when the matter being consulted on is sensitive.
Higher engagement rates
The beauty of having local people participate via unique links is the ability to monitor who has and hasn’t contributed. This means you’re able to send a follow-up email as a reminder to participate. Research shows that up to 80% of people will take action after the third reminder.
So how do I sign up?
Invite Only engagements are currently available as part of Commonplace Select, and this is a part of the most comprehensive public sector package we offer.
If you’d like to activate an Invite Only engagement, get in touch with us!