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80 M Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
80 M Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
Washington, DC – You’re an elected council member in a large and diverse city struggling with budgets and competing needs. Your ward’s constituents want street repairs—badly, and they tell you so. You also know that you have two colleagues whose wards are in the same shape. How can you create synergy in resource prioritization, while letting your residents know they can count on your commitments to fix the streets?
Your boss, the Mayor, asks you to survey engaged constituents on some tough development choices the city will need to make in the coming years. Can you easily integrate a survey into your constituent communication?
According to the people that run iConstituent, these are important questions to ask as municipal governments assume a newly reinvigorated role in creating functional democracy.
“Americans are turning to local government for evidence that elected leadership actually works—can do the right things morally, but also keep the traffic under control and maintain vibrant economies,” says iConstituent Client Success Manager Aaron Stowers, who has seen the company begin with primarily U.S. congressional service, and grow into a comprehensive and widely accessible tool of leadership communication management. Now, he says, “we’re in the business of helping local democracy move, and making transparency easier.”
That’s an important commitment. “We talked to scores of government CRM users and took careful notes,” company CEO Zain Khan wrote on the iConstituent blog last October. As a result, iConstituent has focused on transparency across data–all available through a visually attractive dashboard and icons on the screen that, when clicked, will guide users through their tasks. New information goes online quickly, and the platform is interactive with constituents rather than employing a top-down approach to communication.
The company also offers geographic mapping of requests for repairs and services throughout cities. GIS-based “problem” mapping has been growing as a technology for over a decade. Early emphasis has been on “crisis mapping,” to address natural disasters or conflict zones around the world. But the idea works well with any constituent needs around government structures and policies. Problem mapping invites constituents to source the problems. Governments use multi-sourcemapping to trace droughts, severe weather, and other civil defense crises. Road repair, problems with other government services, conditions of parks and other public access facilities, transit complaints, all invite mapping.
Working with local public advocate offices and city council members in large municipalities on both the east and west coasts as well as the Rocky Mountain region, city and county offices, iConstituent is helping leaders and staff members better understand where local problems tend to emerge, keep the engagement process going even while at local events, and consolidate relationship management in single, accessible spaces instead of clunky “staff@” inboxes and separate files and spreadsheets.
Local officials can also send surveys in their email blasts, using an iConstituent integration tool. Emails with surveys increase receiver engagement and remind constituents that their opinions not only matter, but are being regularly solicited by elected officials’ staff.
“The objective is to understand constituents better,” said Stowers.