Gratitude is the only thing that can turn a negative into a positive at the snap of the fingers.
Of course you have no obligation!
You’ve done your job, worked after hours, more than you should by contract and no one thanked you. Sometimes, the participation was even lower than expected.
Why should you show gratitude to them?
Well to start, gratitude leads to happiness. Happy people contribute more and infect their friends, which leads to more gratitude. Are you seeing the vicious cycle?
But the process already ended. Voting has finished. You won’t see them again until next year!
Let me give you my top 3 tips:
1. Get feedback about voting and process in general
After voting is the right time to thank citizens’ for their vote and ask what they thought about the process, and ideas on how to improve it.
Wait! Wait! Wait!
Am I advising you to keep people contributing and participating in a participatory process?!
Yes. Feedback gathering is hard. Many times people will hand out some simple questionnaires’ and hope that someone contribute.
Try to make this an integrated process as far as possible. Simple and stress free (still remember Gandhi?)
And when they send feedback remember to thank again. Acknowledge their contribution and keep them informed about whatever outcomes it has.
2. Communicate winners, especially to voters that opted for the winners
As soon as you have results keep all voters informed about the results.
Send them a personal email or SMS, thanking them for their time.
Just one email? IMHO no, you can send them one saying the results. After a week send another summarizing the process and stating some curiosities. After one month send a birthday email and reasserting your gratitude.
Those that supported the winners are your champions.
But all that participated are also your champions. Everyone is!
3. Keep them aware of process execution
When you enter execution phase make sure all your citizens know what you’re doing. But also the problems you’re facing and how lucky you are for having the possibility of putting in place the projects they’ve chosen.
They’ll keep feeling your gratitude throughout the year and not burden. They’re contribution feeling will grow and they’ll be happier. And we’ve talked about the result of that 🙂
4. … invite them next year
I did said 3, but as I’m grateful that you’ve read this far I’ll give you one more.
Make sure to invite them all the following year.
They’ll appreciate your tact and care.
They’ll also feel grateful they participated last year.
Writen by César Silva @ ChangeTomorrow
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is a place of experience and thoughts sharing around democracy, participatory initiatives and citizen engagement.
This blog reflects the thoughts of ChangeTomorrow team, its guest bloggers or interviewers.
ChangeTomorrow is a provider of Participatory Budgeting solution called Participare and a spinoff of portuguese market leader WireMaze.
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