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Event Recap: Making Meetings More Efficient at Alaska’s Fisheries

Compiling, distributing and managing large quantities of agenda materials is strenuous on government staff at all levels. With Granicus’ Legistar and iLegislate, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) saves dozens of reams of paper and more than $30,000 annually in meeting-related costs.

February 13’s Seattle World Tour fireside chat with Granicus’ Director of Sales Jeff Schaefer and NPFMC’s Communications and IT Specialist Maria Shawback opened the discussion with the impact of efficient, paperless agenda tools on the daily and yearly operations of the organization.

“This solution really helped us,” Shawback said. “People can download documents onto their iPad and just take their tablet onto their boat, where there might not be internet access, wherever they are in Alaska, and have everything there. They can be more prepared for our council meetings. It’s been a game changer for us.”

NPFMC’s five annual council meetings can last up to 10 days, and previously required agenda packets averaging 750 pages each to accompany the meetings. The cost of distributing the information to the right people was cumbersome and time-consuming, especially when meeting information notoriously changes last minute and can require prolonged attention to detail.

By compiling information in Legistar and distributing it to members on the go via iLegislate, the agency is able to keep all meeting information accurate and accessible to the 80 to 100 council attendees who would have otherwise have used upwards of 60,000 sheets of paper per meeting.

“We have been mostly reliable with the web platform we use and I think as council members and the engaged public or even people who stop in for one issue in 10 years – they can get their information right online,” Shawback added.

Shawback also emphasized the impact of a thorough public record and how constituents benefit from having simplified access to voting records, upcoming meeting agendas and archived meeting information on multiple channels.

“Our audience is everybody,” Shawback said. “We wanted our information to be available and accessible to everyone, no matter what platform they choose.”

With the continued rise of smartphones, the importance of a multi-channel approach going forward takes precedence in digital engagement campaigns. Shawback’s advice to the dozens of agency officials in attendance was to remain nimble in their approach to distributing content. Constantly learning from different attempts to share meeting information has differentiated her agency from many others. After seeing low engagement on Twitter, Shawback said the NPFMC was quick to capitalize on different methods. For their organization, the simple presentation of downloadable documents best met constituent needs, allowing the agency to focus their approach for an optimized public portal to maintain engagement.

“The biggest takeaway we’ve learned is that it’s a constantly evolving process. We think we have it perfected, but things change,” Shawback concluded.

Want to learn more about how you can use Granicus solutions to improve digital engagement with citizens? Contact us today!