Project Websites Foster Community Engagement

Author: Taylor Hodges Published: December 10, 2020

Remember when we used to sit at the same table?

In 2019, the MFA Communications and Planning teams gathered stakeholders around a table in the Interbay neighborhood of Seattle as part of a thorough public input process. Our MFA planners and communications specialists held a series of in-person open houses to share information and solicit feedback from stakeholders and members of the community. The communications goal: inform the public of the current process and gain insight into what the community needs and wants.

The Interbay open houses were incredibly valuable in fostering a two-way dialogue with members of the community, but as we’re seeing in a COVID-19 world, in-person meetings can’t be the only option on the table.

MFA moves to community engagement through custom online open houses

In 2020, MFA provided its first online open house for the Port of Tacoma’s strategic planning process. Our Communications and Engagement Specialists wrote the content and designed the site to best inform and engage the target audiences.

Our graphics team then programmed a brand new, beautifully crafted webpage linked from the Port’s website, providing details on the strategic plan process and timeline. We embedded a survey so members of the community could voice their opinions and provide valuable feedback for the planning process. The open house is available in 15 different languages based on the demographics of Pierce County. Click here to check out the Port of Tacoma’s online open house website—we’re pretty proud of it.

Interactive websites are an enduring tool because of how well they can engage the public. The virtual aspect of this online open house allowed everyone with interest and access to the internet to learn about the Port of Tacoma and the strategic planning process, and to have their voices heard – all on their own time. Online open houses broaden the reach of an engagement effort and give participants much-needed flexibility and a more level playing field for equal opportunity in how they interact with a project. Plus, agencies and organizations get more return on investment, reducing staff time and venue costs compared to traditional open houses. Web-based tools result in broader and more effective engagement that respects both your community with less strain on your limited resources – that’s a win-win.

Online engagement is here to stay, and MFA is here to help

We’re here to help provide information where your audiences are looking for it—on their phones, tablets, and computers.  Our team has provided web services for many clients, ranging from online open houses to campaign and project pages. We’re able to strategize on development and rollout, create content, design a custom website, and build it out ourselves.

Web services are just one of the many communications tools we provide. We understand the need for well-developed engagement strategies as a foundation for these efforts. If you have a project or issue you’d like to talk to the community about, use the form below to reach out to us! One of our communications and engagement specialists would be happy to answer questions or assess your communications needs. No obligation or cost, just a conversation to help you plan your next steps!

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Taylor Hodges

Senior Communications Specialist

(206) 556-2011