Americorps VISTA Training: The 6 Persuasion Principles and Getting Residents to Engage.

03/12/2020 2:39 PM | Stephanie Owens (Administrator)

Did you know that Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) has an AmeriCorps VISTA program with VISTAs placed around the state working towards build capacity for better community development? DCI currently has 8 VISTAs that make up our team. We make it a priority to develop awesome and useful professional development tools and trainings so our VISTAs can best serve their communities and their careers.

Recently, Angelica Wedell, Director of Marketing and Communications for Polco/National Research Center gave a training on The 6 Persuasion Principles and Getting Residents to Engage. 

Local governments these days are using multiple channels to reach out to the community. From digital to in-person opportunities, well-connected communicators are using them all: social media, apps like NextDoor, surveys online and by mail, press releases, public meetings (streamed and in-person), city-sponsored events, and more. Even with all this, many local governments still struggle to get more residents (especially from traditionally hard-to-reach demographics) to engage. One way we can improve on everything from response rates on our surveys to convincing folks to sign up for the town e-newsletter is to pay more attention to the words and language we are using to promote and to ask people to engage with us. This is where the 6 Persuasion Principles come in. These principles draw on human psychology to help us understand WHY and WHAT makes people take a desired action. This is knowledge that effective marketers rely on - and that local government communicators can benefit from too. You can draw on one or more of these persuasion principles to help you write more compellingly - in everything from a Tweet to a sign at a booth at the fair.

The 6 Principles Include: Scarcity, Reciprocity, Authority, Consistency, Consensus, Liking. To bring it all together Angelica presented The Conversion Trinity. Why should your audience care? You need to be able to answer that question yourself and set up the call to action with relevance and showing the value.

The VISTAs will use these principles to engage their communities with their projects addressing Transit & Mobility, Workforce Housing, Branding, Resiliency, and more!

If you want to find out more about Polco and Angelica's work, click here. Also, if there are plenty of times where you are asked to do small surveys or single-question polls. And there are times where you'd like to be able to easily do your own web surveys for your members, your residents, and more. I'm pleased to say that the Polco civic engagement - web survey platform is now free!  It's designed specifically with municipal organizations in mind! So it gives you dashboard results - right away - that give you great analyses, it's easy to use, and the more consistent you are with it - you can even grow a following of people who keep answering your questions over time! Really cool. You can sign up for the free version here:

If want more webinar goodness - check out the one I'm doing this March! I'm talking about Top 8 Priorities for Local Governments, and how resident feedback can help you best focus your efforts. You can get all the details and sign up here: 

Learn more about the VISTA program, here. Contact Kylie Brown, for more details!

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