Govtech Fund


Go to Where the People Are

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no wonder local governments have trouble getting people to show up at meetings.

But what if instead of expecting residents to come to them, governments went to where they are? What if they met residents online?

That’s the approach the City of San Mateo, Calif. took using our portfolio company, MindMixer‘s community engagement platform, and had great results. The website, set up to get residents’ comments about a proposed park renovation, drew comments from more than 130 people. A public meeting on the same topic had drawn just eight people.

MindMixer’s online platform received comments from more than 130 people. An in-person public meeting on the same topic had drawn just eight people.

Not only that, but the approach reached a younger crowd than typically found at public meetings. Nearly 60 percent of the online commenters were between ages 35 and 45; the average age was close to 42. It’s a demographic the city had been trying to reach for years.

“This was the target audience we’d been trying to get but were not getting,” through conventional hearings, said Abby Veeser, a senior management analyst in San Mateo’s parks department.

Read more here.