7 min read

Citizen Engagement & Community Development Software: Improving Your Neighborhood in 2022

By GovPilot
 

With mobile devices, Americans have instant internet access from anywhere. Citizens and businesses alike now demand the ability and convenience to interact and communicate with their government officials in the same way they do with their favorite online travel booking service, food delivery app, or rideshare company. Unfortunately, many municipal and county governments are still using paper filing systems that require constituents and businesses to drive to the clerk's office to file paperwork. That inconvenience does not sit well with tech savvy constituents, and creates unnecessarily time-consuming, inefficient work for government employees. 

Fortunately, modern government technology makes it easy for constituents to communicate with their local government officials about concerns and issues in their neighborhood and to file paperwork like permits and business registration for simplified community development processes. In turn local governments are able to save time, money, and human resources while providing the responsive services and operations that constituents expect.

Follow along to learn about the benefits of digital government software applications for communicating with constituents and local businesses, and learn how you can make the switch online regardless of the size or budget of your municipality or county.

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What is Citizen Engagement Software?

Citizen engagement software is government technology meant to streamline government-constituent communications and participation via a simplified cloud platform. With simple digital public engagement applications, constituents can voice their opinion directly to government officials and report neighborhood concerns via a complaint management platform. Volunteer and job opportunities for constituents to consider can be shared directly via your government website. Encouraging civic engagement in your neighborhood has never been easier. 

What are the Benefits of Citizen Engagement Software for Local Governments?

As a local government official, you care about making improvements to your community. Citizen engagement software can help to accomplish your goals by:

1. Allowing You to Communicate With Your Constituents Directly

Report a Concern software allows constituents to reach out to your local government directly about issues within your community. Submitting a report for something as simple as a pothole or down tree to a more serious issue like a crime can be submitted alongside a 3D GIS Map that highlights the exact location with the issue. The government software submits the report to relevant officials that can use inter-government communications technology to assign the problem to the right department to alleviate the issue. Once an issue is fixed, government officials can respond to the good Samaritan to let them know the problem is being / has been addressed.

That let’s constituents know their voices and be heard and encourages civic engagement across your community. 

2. Making It Easy For Constituents to Discover Volunteer and Job Opportunities

Government recruitment in the wake of the great resignation is even more challenging than it has always been. For local governments with paper workflows and a poorly functioning website, recruiting locals to onboard as volunteers or government employees can be very difficult. With simplified digital workflows, your local government can post job listings to fill vacant roles and find volunteers for neighborhood efforts. 

How to Get Your Constituents Involved in Local Government? Read our guide to find out. 

3. Streamlined Digital Applications 

Your local government is constantly accepting permit and license applications from constituents for things like working on their properties or registering a pet. With government engagement technology, constituents can file permit and license applications digitally and relevant local officials will automatically receive access and can approve or deny the applications from their computers.  

All of the relevant paperwork will be easily accessible and backed up via a cyber-secure cloud.

What are the Benefits of Citizen Engagement Software for Your Constituents?

Constituents love technological innovations that simplify their lives. Citizen engagement software:

    • Makes it simple for citizens to encourage their government to make improvements to the neighborhood. A direct response from your local government from the concern reporting application will make them feel like their voices are truly being heard. 
    • Online permit and license platforms allow constituents to file applications 24/7 from anywhere via their phone or computer. 
    • Lists good opportunities to get involved with your local government in an easy-to-navigate location of your government website

What is Community Development Software?

Community development software is technology meant to simplify processes related to economic development in your community. To encourage population growth, your local government can host online real estate auctions that people from anywhere can join virtually to buy commercial or residential property. As for business development, online business registration and permit applications allow businesses to get approved and get storefronts up and running quickly. 

What are the Benefits of Community Development Software for Local Governments?

Constituents care about the local economy. One of your local government’s major responsibilities is to encourage economic development and business registration in your area. Community development software helps your local government by:

4. Making Real Estate Auctions Digital

Your local government wants to encourage new constituents and businesses to move into your neighborhood. With online real estate auctions, you can generate interest in people looking to make a move elsewhere from around the nation and raise millions for your local government. At the peak of the pandemic, Trenton, NJ hosted its first online real estate auction at a time when in-person events were taboo. The event attracted 378 registrants (an increase of 278% over the previous auction,) and led to $4.15 million in revenue generated with 100% of listings sold. To make a good situation even better, purchasers of commercial and residentials properties signed an agreement that they’d commit to living or operating a business in the space for at least 5 years.

Learn more about how Trenton leveraged GovPilot’s free online real estate auction platform in the Trenton, NJ Real Estate Auction Case Study

5. Increasing the Number of Business Applications 

Businesses actively seek to work in neighborhoods known for having a local government that’s easy to work with. Online business registration makes it easy for entrepreneurs to register their business in your neighborhood. Going digital has historically improved business application completion rates and resulted in more business-owners and self-employed individuals moving in. 

All of the relevant paperwork for each business will be easy to access via the cloud, and records for a commercial property can be pulled up with ease via your GIS map. 

6. Increased Tax Revenue

As more constituents and businesses move in, your local government will have more funds to make improvements towards your local infrastructure and improve the local quality of life. Streamlined tax assessment software will allow you to collect property taxes from home and commercial real estate owners and have tax data readily accessible via the cloud.  

7. Improved Municipal Bond Rating

As government technology automates workflows and streamlines communications for your local government, the cost savings will reflect nicely on your budgets and balance sheet. Saved money and improved efficiency paired with top notch cyber-security via the cloud will inspire investors to purchase municipal bonds from your community. 

8. Simplified Parking Processes

Digitize your parking ticketing processes to allow constituents and visitors to pay for parking tickets online. Your parking department can go completely paperless and can collect fees and parking permit applications directly via your government website. 

Click here to learn more about automated Parking Software.

What are the Benefits of Community Development Software for Constituents?

Community development software benefits constituents by: 

  • Giving them the opportunity to utilize a wide-array of new goods and services as more businesses move into your community
  • Increasing the number of jobs available in your neighborhood
  • Giving their local government more funds from taxes and real estate auctions to make improvements to their community
  • Encouraging them to become homeowners with regular property auctions. 

What are the Benefits of Community Development Software for Local Businesses? 

Local businesses will be moving to your city in droves with benefits of community development software including:

  • Online business registration and permit applications: as businesses look to get established, simple online business registration and permit applications will streamline their process to getting the business up and running. 
  • Simplified inspection workflows: whether a local business is dealing with the building inspector or a health department official, GovInspect software simplifies inspection workflows via an efficient and thorough online application. Important inspection records will be accessible via the cloud for business and property owners (as well as relevant local government officials!)

  • Automated renewal reminders: business owners have a lot on their plates to deal with. Renewing their business license on a yearly basis is just another task on a long list of things to do. With community development software, business owners with automatically receive renewal reminders on an annual basis, allowing them to focus on other things without forgetting this important business procedure. 

Citizen Engagement & Community Development Software - In Conclusion 

Modern government management software has the ability to improve communications throughout your government and with constituents and businesses. Think streamlined, paperless workflows that will simplify your government workers lives while encouraging civic engagement and business registration. 

With more constituents moving in and businesses registering to set up shop in your neighborhood, local economic development will skyrocket. Your government will have more funds to improve local infrastructure and the overall quality of life in your neighborhood.

To learn more about citizen engagement and community development software, schedule a free demo. 

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Resident & Business Engagement Software - FAQs 

What is Resident Engagement Software? 

Resident engagement software (also referred to as citizen engagement software) is technology that allows for direct communication between constituents and their local government. In addition to constituents having simple online applications for reporting neighborhood issues and filing applications like permits and licenses, local governments can provide status updates directly in response to constituents.

That streamlines public sector workflows, and makes constituents happy that their voice is being heard.   

What are the Benefits of Community Engagement Platform? 

Community engagement platforms streamline government correspondence with the public in a cloud-based platform. Benefits include automation of government workflows across departments, cyber-secure government data stored in the cloud, faster turnaround times on government projects. The quality of life will be better for constituents and local government workers!

How Does Citizen Engagement Software Encourage Civic Engagement? 

With civic engagement software, local residents can use a cell phone application to report any issues that arise in the neighborhood. For example, if a constituent notices flooding on a major road, they can relay the issue to relevant local government officials with a written message and pin on a GIS map that identifies the exact location.

Additionally, if your local government is recruiting help for a parks and recreation project, CERT, or any volunteer project, you can upload a description to your local government website and send notifications to constituents that want to give back to the neighborhood. 

How Can Constituents Report Issues in Your Community?

With a report a concern application, constituents can download a phone application that allows them to submit messages alongside a pin on a GIS map to report any non-emergency issue that might arise. 

Once submitted, relevant government officials will be notified and can begin taking action to fix the issue. They can also reach out to constituents that reported issues directly to provide status updates. 

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Tags: Constituent Engagement, Government Efficiency, Constituent Experience, Digital Transformation, Blog, Civic Engagement