One moment...

Blogs / Performance Management / How Can You Publicize Your Resident Survey?

How Can You Publicize Your Resident Survey?

Responses to resident surveys can be an important source of indicators for a performance management program. They provide managers with quantifiable data to assess progress toward such difficult-to-measure goals as “quality of life” and “citizen engagement.”

To maximize the usefulness of a survey, a city or county needs to make residents aware of it and encourage them to respond. Recognizing this need, the communications team at National Research Center, Inc. (NRC), Angelica Wedell and Erin Dixon, developed a list of suggestions for publicizing a survey to the community.

Write a Press Release

If you are already in the practice of sending out press releases regarding community news, send one out about your survey. A strong press release gives local television stations, radio stations and newspapers a jumping off point to create larger interest in the survey.

Utilize Existing Mailings

Does your community have a monthly or quarterly newsletter? Use that as a vehicle to promote the survey, what its purpose is and where residents can go to ask further questions.

Announce on Local Government Website

Your website may be the first place people go to get information about your community. Make the survey announcement visible and the details easy to find.

Share on Social Media

Many residents follow their city or county on social media and use it as a source of news. Post about the survey: when to expect it and how the results will be used. If you conduct an online opt-in survey, share that link on social media, too.

Promote at Local Events

Do you have a big community event on the horizon (like the county fair or a barbecue festival)? You’ll probably have a booth to engage with residents. Make sure to mention the survey, or even print up a handout for a quick reminder to respond.

Consider Popular Signage

Don’t forget the use of local government signage. This might include banners throughout the community, or billboards along major commuter routes in your area.

Produce a Short Video

Video is a significant form of digital engagement, and having the mayor or city/county manager elaborate on how the survey will help the community could be beneficial for garnering participation.

Collaborate with Your Communications Department

Communications professionals are in tune with how to best share important information with your audiences, so utilize the experts within your organization.

Using a combination of these approaches can help you get a robust survey response that will inform community decision making, help you track the quality of local services, and allow you to measure the success of your programs and initiatives.

A version of this post originally appeared on the NRC website,, accompanied by an “NRC Q&A” video (best viewed using Chrome or Internet Explorer). NRC clients also have access to an additional resource, The Playbook of Strategies, which contains several case studies and in-depth tips on publicizing your survey.


Ian Lucas
Ian Lucas said

A lot of "surveys" conducted by local governments are constructed and managed by outside consultants, who by their very nature have an interest in always promoting "positive" results, year in and year out.
This encourages survey bias, at each of the background, question, and analysis levels.
The inevitable result is a citizenry tired of seeing the same old stuff regurgitated every year, and usually with no associated report card from the previous year's survey, in terms of concrete improvement plans and their measurement. You wind up with lack of participation, citizen cynicism, yet elected officials who can always point at the results and say "you have your opportunity to engender change every time we do the survey".
I believe a far more rigorous internal set of processes is required to ensure that the right questions are being asked (departmental responsibility); there is a transparent process for dissemination of results TOGETHER with an action plan, with associated practical measurement. The same vehicles for communicating the existence and importance of the survey should be used for the necessary followup program.
And finally, USE THE LATEST IN MOBILE SURVEY TECHNOLOGY so that people can quickly take the survey without the hassle of having to sit at a computer to do it.

Please sign in to comment.

Posted by