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Storytelling Engages Citizens, Garners Approval, and Sparks Behavior Change

Data-driven stories are powerful for informing citizens, stakeholders, and elected officials of initiatives, celebrating milestones and benefits, and inspiring people to take action aligned with community goals and initiatives. Local governments usually do have data at their fingertips that can be a gold mine for telling compelling stories to inspire action for creating a real impact. However, governments are increasingly expected to comply with open data policies, report progress on initiatives, have a presence on social media, and engage the community – in addition to actual work and while faced with limited resources!

The Community Dashboard is a website add-on for telling a community’s story for one project or for community-wide initiatives. Our partner, Kim Lundgren Associates, Inc. (KLA), customizes the dashboard based on local priorities with simple infographics for citizens to quickly understand the goals and view progress to date. There are options for engaging citizens to collect feedback during comprehensive planning, on project progress, or other issues. They also provide a service for maintenance and updates so local government IT staff doesn’t have an extra burden. You can view dashboard examples for Encinitas, CA; Springfield, MA; Nashua, NH; and Cambridge, MA.

What we’ve learned from KLA: images, icons, and infographics are key to storytelling! Use visuals to quickly and effectively get your messages to your community.

KLA is offering a brief guidebook on storytelling and a free webinar on “Public Outreach for Engagement and Behavior Change” via the Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA) Sustainable Utilities Committee on Aug. 14 at 12pm ET. Let us know if you’d like to discuss how a storytelling dashboard can improve your community outreach and engagement in order to garner support and spark behavior change.

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