Education & Government
Kathleen Vail Image
Kathleen Vail
Former Editor-in-Chief, National School Boards Association

Transform the way you connect with your community using technology

May 10, 2024
0 min read
Transform the way you connect with your community using technology

The pandemic pushed us firmly into the digital era, where technology emerged as a source of hope and connection. It was more than a tool; it was a lifeline to vital, trustworthy information and resources directly from our local government. Post-pandemic, technology remains essential in bridging the gap between individuals and their communities, while expectations for seamless access and engagement have only increased.

Local government council members can use this momentum to strengthen ties to the communities they serve and ensure technology continues to empower everyone to move forward together.

Increased engagement for Resolute Bay

Many local governments rely on technology to help them earn and keep the trust and engagement of their residents. For example, Canada’s Municipality of Resolute Bay is so remote that broadband internet only become available in 2022. Municipal officials realized that widespread broadband access could help them increase public engagement and expand participation in council meetings for the hamlet’s 200 residents.

Through the adoption of Diligent Community board management software, Resolute Bay posts agendas and minutes for council meetings online. Residents can sign up for alerts that let them know when the next meeting is held.

“Once the agenda is published online, there is greater awareness in the community and beyond. We have community members subscribing to the new service so that they are informed when the next council meeting will take place. The stakeholders are better informed,” said Resolute Bay Municipality Chief Administration Officer Ian Dudla.

A key factor in building trust and engagement, Diligent Community supported Resolute Bay in meeting a Canadian legal requirement to publish a translated copy of meeting minutes in the local language, Inuktitut, which is made up of syllabic characters.

Reducing barriers in Carbondale

The town of Carbondale, Colorado, is another example of how board management software provides connections and engagement opportunities for community members. Town officials wanted to make it easier for their residents to attend meetings so that they could know how the town was managing a large public building project.

With Diligent Community, Carbondale livestreams its meetings directly to the website to appear alongside the agenda. People attending can sign up pre-meeting to speak. A digital timer ensures each speaker gets the allotted three minutes of speaking time. After the meeting, the recording appears alongside the timestamped meeting minutes.

The software also allows publication of documents such as the meeting agenda and materials in formats that can be translated easily to Spanish or other languages, eliminating the language barrier for non-English-speaking community members.

The ways technology provides information and connection

As you can see from the examples of Resolute Bay and Carbondale, board management platforms such as Diligent Community can help local governments provide trusted information, eliminate barriers to engagement and open the doors to active participation from residents. Here are some areas that technology addresses:

  • Remove barriers and increase accessibility: Accessibility is fundamental to inclusive governance. Board management software includes features designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities, such as adjustable font sizes, live closed captioning and audio options for seeing impaired individuals. Livestreaming options with closed captioning make it possible for more people to participate in meetings from their homes, removing the barriers of transportation, childcare, or physical limitations. Providing documents in an accessible HTML format allows non-English-speaking residents to use tools such as Google Translate to easily read documents and participate in civic life.
  • Be the trusted source of information: Governmental websites should be the first place residents turn to when they need information or resources. Clear and timely dissemination of information can foster trust and engagement. Diligent Community allows the public to have easy access to meeting agendas, minutes and policies. They can sign up for meeting notifications and submit a request to speak. They can stay informed about the latest developments and decisions without waiting for information requests to be fulfilled.
  • Easy to navigate website: Posting information on a website is not enough to ensure that it will be accessed. Locating specific information within a mountain of documents can be a time-consuming task. Board management software like Diligent Community simplifies this process by offering advanced search functionality. The public can search for keywords or topics of interest, allowing them to quickly find the information they need without sifting through endless pages of documents.
  • Public participation and engagement: Livestreamed meetings are essential for community engagement. Livestream Manager for Diligent Community provides reliable and inclusive access for the public using video integrated within public meeting agendas and minutes. Meetings can be livestreamed with closed captions directly on the public website, where viewers can watch the meeting on a split screen alongside the agenda. After the meeting, recordings with timestamped minutes make it easy to navigate through recorded content. This inclusivity encourages a broader range of voices to be heard in the decision-making process, leading to more informed and representative outcomes.
  • Centralized document repository: Board management software like Diligent Community provides a centralized platform for storing, organizing and managing documents such as meeting agendas, minutes, reports and policies. By digitizing these materials and making them easily accessible and searchable online, local governments can ensure that residents can access relevant information when they need it.
  • Compliance and security: Giving the public greater access to information means that local governments need to be vigilant about data security while making sure they are complying with legal requirements. Board management software like Diligent Community offers robust security features such as user authentication, encryption and access controls to safeguard confidential data.

Building stronger communities

Board management software enhances community access to information and promotes transparent governance. By centralizing documents, providing updates, encouraging public engagement and prioritizing accessibility, local governments can foster a culture of transparency, accountability and civic participation. Trusted information is key to democracy, and embracing technology is necessary for building stronger, more inclusive communities.

Community access to trusted information in the digital age requires digital tools designed for the needs of local governments. Board management technology can help local governments build trust with their community members. Explore how Diligent Community supports board governance and helps build trust and engagement.


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