To reach a broad cross-section of Thousand Oaks residents, we took a digital engagement approach augmented by pop-up workshops at a farmer’s market and shopping mall. These input-gathering methods were supported by a robust outreach strategy, which included a utility bill insert, newspaper ads, newsletter, press release, and social media campaign.
We began by conducting a stakeholder analysis, defining target audiences, developing a project messaging framework and project logo that would establish a recognizable look for the project this year and in the years to come.
We collaborated with staff to create a project webpage on the City’s website, which included a splash page with background information, FAQ, email subscription, calendar of events, and a link to online budget tool.
We also worked with staff to select the best-suited digital engagement platform. Together with the City we selected Citizen Budget from Open North and developed a series of questions designed to ascertain public priorities regarding the municipal budget. The platform included visualized information about the municipal budget, a slider that allowed residents to adjust the budget for each listed service and to understand the potential impacts of their choices before submitting their final budget, and open comment fields.
The pop-up workshops were designed to parallel the online platform and provide engagement opportunities for those who may not feel comfortable providing feedback online. To inform residents about the budget, we included a trivia spin wheel and offered prizes. To collect input on their budget priorities, we designed an analogue version of the online engagement tool using multi-colored balls and labeled buckets. To draw in families with children we also included piggy bank coloring games, hop scotch, and a bucket toss game. We hosted the pop-up workshop at the farmer’s market, the Mall, and several other community events.
Finally, to get the word out about the online engagement opportunity, which was challenging at first, we designed and conducted a robust marketing campaign that included social media, digital ads, print ads, posters and flyers, and press releases.