This is the company information page for the 2019 #ELGLHaverford award.
- Website: www.publicinput.com
- Contact person: Hunter Gardner
- Contact email: [email protected]
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/cityzen-app
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/public_input
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/publicinput/
- Industry sector: Engagement
- Minority/Women-Owned: No
- Does the company have an articulated equity/inclusion policy: No
- Nominated by: City of Raleigh, NC
Engagement With ELGL:
- Blogs, Webinars, Podcasts with ELGL? Yes
- Events, Activities with ELGL? Yes
Working with the Company:
Describe your work and interactions with the nominee – how have you worked with them, on what projects, in what capacity?
- While multiple departments at The City of Raleigh utilize PublicInput.com, Raleigh Planning was the first to adopt the software in February 2015. As an early adopter, Raleigh Planning has had a front row seat for seeing PublicInput.com’s capabilities grow over the years — and a lot of their product changes have come directly from our feedback.
PublicInput.com unifies our community engagement efforts across multiple tactics, both online and offline. At the core of the software is the CRM which acts as our public participation database which we use to re-engage and follow up with all residents or specific groups via email or text. We also share resident contact information and project results across all of the departments in the City with a PublicInput.com license.
Some planning projects over the years have included our 2030 Comprehensive Plan, our Bus Rapid Transit Development efforts, and even our Engagement Preferences Survey – all with an emphasis on equitable development.
What was the product/outcome of your relationship with the company?
- In 2019 alone, Raleigh Planning has collected 14,600+ points of public input (unique survey responses) and 2300+ comments across seven different planning projects. We are able to quickly see the full picture thanks to comment tagging and the ability to visualize those results, as well as their integrated report generation. Our public participation database contains contact information for 2100+ residents who we can easily engage with, including by specific grouping criteria.
What are three words you’d use to describe the company?
While there are several adjectives like innovative, collaborative, and proactive that come to mind, I think the best words to describe PublicInput are those that create a foundation for the others: unmatched customer service. If I have a question about a feature or need assistance employing a tool, I know that someone on their team will respond within the hour. I also know they are open and ready to work together to create new features. During my very first meeting with PI, I asked if there was a way to create a ‘slider’ function for questions asking about things generally measured on a continuous scale. Not only did they create that function within a few weeks, but they are also working with us to ensure that the reports related to this function cover everything we need. What really blew me away was the day I received a call from someone on their team about an upcoming project. They knew the project was going to be big and that the turn-around time for data analysis was both short and strict. They made sure that we had everything we needed to be successful and took the time to meet with me and go through how I can best utilize all of their tools. It was clear that they were just as invested in the project’s success as we were. I’m happy to report that, because of their support, we met every deadline and created the most successful engagement effort in the City of Raleigh’s history of these initiatives.
Describe the on boarding process for your work with the company – either when you personally started working with them, or when your organization did. What could someone else in local government know about starting work with this company?
Dedicated on-boarding time and offered multiple follow up trainings, including a Summer Training Series this past year which alternated between a general refresher and specific best practices.
What is the company’s pricing structure? Please be as descriptive as possible.
Raleigh Planning is on an annual, departmental license with PublicInput.com, and through this we can provide admin access to consultants who work with us, as well as share information across other departments (and even agencies) with a PublicInput.com license. They also offer a pilot program, which provides full access to the software for an initial project.
What’s the most interesting or fun aspect of your work with the company?
When it comes to fun — or what people generally define as fun — PublicInput initially would seem to be at a disadvantage. Survey writing and design, qualitative coding, and data analysis are things that few would call enthralling. Of course, when I meet with their team, we spend hours geeking out over new features and cool results. We can lose ourselves in brainstorming possibilities. But the true fun for me is that their team has found a way to get others excited about these things. Their interface is friendly enough to keep users from being intimidated, their features are engaging enough to keep respondents from experiencing boredom, and their analysis tools are innovative enough to get city planners (city planners!) amped about survey reports. I was working with a planning team a few weeks ago to show all the options PublicInput provides when it comes to capturing and presenting survey data. At first, I figured their silence was an expression of boredom and a sign for me to shut up, but their mouths were simply agape in amazement. They couldn’t wait to get back to their desks and start “playing” with the data. When your colleagues start talking like this, you know you’ve got a great tool in your hands.
How has your relationship with the company evolved or changed over time? How has the company reacted to or addressed any changes that your organization has requested in the scope/focus of your work together?
As we all know, local government is ever-changing. PublicInput knows this and is always prepared–like Boy Scouts, but without the badges. When our department enacted new internal policies for how surveys are written, published, and assessed, PublicInput was there to demonstrate how we could use their platform to further encourage this shift and safeguard against any pull back toward tradition. When we wanted to get more creative with our survey design, PublicInput was eager to listen to our ideas and to create the tools that would help to realize our vision. When an increasing number of departments in the City of Raleigh started to use PublicInput, the team approached us with a way to make licensing both easier and more cost-effective. When they heard rumblings that our department was likely going to merge with another, PublicInput was there to show us how to consolidate our engagement materials on their platform. There have been so many “when this happened…” examples and there will be many more. What’s clear is that the statement will always end with “…and PublicInput had our backs.”