How to start a citizen engagement project using Your Priorities
Your Priorities connects governments & citizens through constructive ideas and debate that minimizes personal arguments and trolling. Your Priorities has been used in hundreds of engagement projects in 20 countries by over 1.5 million people for the past 11 years.
Citizens add ideas, can view other people’s ideas, and take part in an effective debate about each idea. For each idea you can add points for or points against. Once you’ve added a debate point, other people can vote the point up or down but they can’t comment directly on it – they will have to write a standalone counterpoint that has no direct connection to your initial point. This makes trolling almost impossible, defangs and downplays any personal arguments between participants, and is the key to the high-quality engagement that is achieved when using the Your Priorities platform.
Step 1: Define your project
The first step is to decide what sort of feedback you want from citizens and what the audience for the consultation is. Not every issue is of equal interest to every citizen participating, so it is important to understand who the citizens are that are most likely to be interested in contributing to your consultation.
Step 2: Choose a hosting server & create your engagement community
Setup a Your Priorities project on https://yrpri.org/ in Europe and https://ypus.org/ in America
You can setup your project on one of our domains but you can also contact us for setting up Your Priorities on your own custom domain.
In this video I will show you how to setup a new community on Your Priorities and how to create groups with different settings.
In this video I will explain all the community and group settings for Your Priorities communities.
Step 3: Promote your project
If citizens do not know about your project they will not participate. It is a fundamental right for citizens to know about opportunities to participate in democratic processes. It does not need to be hard or expensive to make the best effort to let as many citizens know as possible.
More citizens participating will increase the legitimacy of your project.
For some projects it can be important to use many marketing channels but as the citizen engagement happens online then those channels are the most important. And usually the best performing online marketing channels are other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – this is due to the fact that people on social media are already in an engagement mode and therefore more likely to participate.
Create a marketing plan that defines how you are going to reach the audience that you identified in step 1.
- Google ads
- TV ads
- Radio ads
- Direct mail
- Face to face meetings
Promoting your project on Facebook and Instagram is easy. You can either boost your post or use the Facebook advertising system. Here is a recent tutorial, not made by the Citizens Foundation, on how to promote posts on Facebook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07zr_ZBZ-zk
Promoting a Tweet using the Twitter advertising system is also a good way to reach a large audience on Twitter.
Step 4: Monitor your project with Google Analytics
With Google analytics you can see how many people visit your project and a wealth of demographic information and statistics.
Step 5: Export, use the results and notify citizens
It is easy to export data in Excel format directly from Your Priorities. You can also send users updates on the status of projects from the edit menu on each post but you can also do Bulk Status Updates for updating the status of thousands of ideas using templates.
Service Level Agreements & Startup Packages
The Citizens Foundation offers Service Level Agreements that start at $0, and Startup Packages. The Your Priorities platform software is also free and open source on GitHub.
About Citizens Foundation
The Citizens Foundation was founded in 2008 in Iceland and now has offices in Iceland, the United States & the UK. It’s mission is to help connect governments and nonprofits with citizens by creating open online engagement platforms and offering consultation on how to best plan & execute successful citizen engagement projects.
The Citizens Foundation believes in non-partisan futurist solutions to the problems currently facing our democracies. We have recently seen technology undermine our faith in debate in the public arena; we believe that innovations in technology can instead be used to restore faith in democratic debate and institutions.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂