It’s no secret that citizens want more transparency from local governments, but it’s not always easy, streamlined or secure to share your progress reports, budget spending or results from your strategic plan. Since we launched our Public Dashboard, we’ve watched cities confidently celebrate their work and improve communication with their community. We’ve written on Why You Need a Public Dashboard in a recent blog post.
We designed our Public Dashboard so that any leader—regardless of their IT skill level—could have a better way to let their community know what’s going on. Our goal was to provide a tool that increased transparency while putting leaders in the driver’s seat of their own narrative.
The solution that our team developed is a customizable, dynamic web page that shares select planning and performance data from your government.
If you’re thinking about a Public Dashboard, we gathered our top tips from our Customer Success team. These experts have coached other cities through the process of getting their Public Dashboard launched and can help you onboard internal teams to your Public Dashboard, launch it externally, manage hesitation to new technology, and drive your narrative.
Our Top Five Tips for Launching Your Public Dashboard
1. Launch it internally first, with a positive message.
Before releasing your Public Dashboard externally, allow time and space for your internal teams to get comfortable with it. Show your teams that your Public Dashboard is going to celebrate the hard work they’re doing—and that it will help the public see your wins and progress.
Next, we suggest launching it to your City Council, so they get a chance to ask questions and be aware. They will also provide an extra checkpoint so that everything looks the best it possibly can before launch.
2. Provide a forum to discuss hesitations and uncertainty.
This may be your first step in bringing attention to what you’re doing. It’s natural for your senior leadership or team to experience uncertainty and hesitation—but you can assure everyone that anything you share is secure and easy for your team to edit.
You have absolute control over what you want to show the public. You can edit every aspect of your reports, show what you want to, and hide what you don’t. You can review each report before it goes live. You can also generate a preview link to send around to stakeholders who need to review or approve the content before it reaches the public. If you make a mistake or catch an error, you can pull any incorrect information, or simple go back in, edit and re-publish.
3. Make a splash!
Use every channel you have to tell your citizens that your Public Dashboard is live. Once you’re ready to launch, use your social channels to make an announcement. Every time you add new data or reports—tell your community the you’ve made an update. If you have newsletters, virtual or printed, also share the launch and updates there.
Have a good explanation of what a Public Dashboard is and how it works on hand so that you’re talking about it clearly and consistently with the public. Be sure to communicate the positive impacts of the information that your citizens are seeing, and how is it affecting their life.
4. Give context.
Beyond just sharing metrics and reports, talk about their relevance to your strategic plan or to your community. Explain the goal or issue that you’re addressing with the measure that you’re sharing—make the importance and relevance clear. Throughout the process, our team is here to coach you and point out any areas that need explanation before publishing or launch.
5. Be proactive.
“You don’t need to have a complete strategic plan or report to share data on your Public Dashboard.”
This is your chance to control your narrative. Get in front of things that aren’t going well. Instead of letting someone else tell the story, you can acknowledge that you realize something is off track and get ahead of it by using your Public Dashboard to share the reasons why.
You don’t need to have a complete strategic plan or report to share data on your Public Dashboard. You can report on performance measures, or high-level goals and still have a robust and informative dashboard.