- Success Story
- Edina, MN
How Edina, MN created more meaningful engagement
With a population of about 55,000, Edina, Minnesota is a first-ring suburb located just minutes from downtown Minneapolis. The city relied on traditional engagement methods, including email, direct mail, social media, public hearings, and word of mouth to reach residents. Edina officials wanted to enhance its engagement methods and implemented Granicus’ online community engagement platform to boost transparency, create greater awareness, and increase resident participation.
- 197,000+ site visits
- 2,600+ site registrations
- 97% of registered users are active participants
- Increased transparency in the community
Creating more meaningful engagement
Though Edina had realized some success with traditional outreach methods, the city’s engagement and communications teams knew they were not reaching some demographic groups. There was not a centralized location residents could use to access information and staff were spending a lot of time getting residents up to speed on projects. Without a formal strategy, Edina’s engagement efforts felt ad hoc and disorganized. Edina’s goal was to shift to a more dedicated process and create more accessible, visible communications.
Digital engagement solutions enhance access
Edina staff needed a solution that allowed people to participate when and where they were available. They sought an efficient way to house project information and wanted to provide a feedback loop where residents could offer their comments. Edina selected Granicus’ online community engagement platform to create a transparent process and provide greater access to information.
Branded as Better Together Edina, the city found the solution helped them achieve their goals:
- Clear and meaningful engagement
- Provide a variety of ways for residents to participate
- Let people know their input is valued
- Build authentic relationships and transparency
The digital engagement solution made it easy for the city to pivot on projects when necessary. And residents could be involved and provide feedback that city staff would incorporate. The engagement platform allowed Edina staff to share draft recommendations with the community before anything went to the city council. Staff would then present revised recommendations which helped build community support.
Greater engagement through technology
As a result of implementing a digital engagement platform, Edina has garnered great, quantifiable results and enhanced community engagement. The Better Together Edina website has seen an increase in visitors (over 197,000). In addition, more than 2,600 users have registered on the site, and the city estimates that 97% of registered users are active participants on Better Together Edina. Anecdotally, city staff report that the platform has saved them valuable time and resources. The intuitive nature of the platform has made it easy for both internal staff and residents to navigate. In fact, the Edina engagement team attributes the site’s rising registration numbers to the simple sign-up process.
Better Together Edina helped staff present information and gather input on critical community projects while building trust and authenticity. For example, the city’s Morningside Flood Infrastructure Project effectively helped inform the public about flood risk in their neighborhoods. The platform helped the city host virtual meetings and the site’s form tool allowed people to ask questions live which staff could answer in real time. Additionally, the platform helped Edina add layers of multimedia in an engaging way; an interactive web map virtually replicated a walkabout in the park designed to show what would happen in a flood event. Downloadable Google Earth files with street views of neighborhoods were also on the site to give residents a sense of their flood risk. The Morningside Flood Infrastructure Project page garnered nearly 11,000 total site visits, over 3,300 informed visitors, and nearly 7,000 aware visitors.
The platform also helped Edina bring creative projects to the community. During Covid, the city’s arts and culture commission sought a way to bring art to the people and introduced a Virtual Art Gallery where people submitted art to the site to share. Chalk the Walk, an event run by Edina’s parks and recreation department, encouraged people to chalk part of their sidewalk and submit photos. Submissions are also noted on a map so people can go see them in person and a voting mechanism allowed site visitors to vote for their favorite submission on the site.
Watch a webinar to learn more about how Edina is successfully using Granicus’ engagement platform for a variety of projects.