Early Findings From the CivicPlus Digital Citizen Engagement Survey
On July 23, CivicPlus launched its Digital Citizen Engagement Survey, a nationwide research initiative to gather important information and data regarding citizen wants and needs when it comes to their local government websites.
Coupled with CivicPlus' 6 Stages of Digital Community Engagement Assessment, which allows local governments to chart their position as it relates to how well they are engaging their community through their websites, the Survey and the Assessment are providing some exciting and noteworthy data regarding usage of local government websites.
We don't want to share all of the data we've collected so far - you'll have to wait until the case study is released later this fall for that - but we did want to provide a sneak peak at the early returns. An appetizer - if you will - to the main course.
Of particular interest so far, of Internet users in the United States and Canada:
- 69% of citizens agreed with the statement “The more digital interactions available on your local government website, the more likely you are to interact”
- While 84% of citizens choose email as the best way for local governments to connect with citizens, only 54% of local government websites offer email subscription services to residents
- 98% of citizens use the Internet at least once per week, with the most common reasons being email, news, and banking
- 74% of citizens use social media at least once per week, and 72% of citizens believe it is important for local government to use social media to connect with citizens
Out of this data, we can begin to extrapolate a lot of significant trends and measurables. We can also begin to craft and formulate some educated assumptions and hypotheses.
For instance, if most citizens are using the Internet for news and banking, it is safe to assume that their expectation is also going to be that they wish to consume news and complete monetary transactions (pay fines and fees) with their local government online as well. We'll have the data to back that statement up as well, but the findings are exciting nonetheless.
A lot of the data collected so far has also been quite eye-opening. Citizens are asking for and expecting a lot of online functionality and services
that, for the most part, many local governments are simply not providing.
It is this gap between citizens' expectations and local governments' online offerings that CivicPlus hopes to bridge, and the data from the Digital Citizen Engagement Survey
and the 6 Stages of Digital Community Engagement Assessment
will not only drive home ideas and best practices
that CivicPlus has defined in our 10-plus years in the industry, but also allow us to refine the assistance we can provide to local governments in helping them better engage and interact with their citizens online