Working with Granicus, Nicholson’s team created EngageDOLA.org and, within a year, had three projects in process with a fourth on the way. Nicholson plans to launch two more in short time, with the intention of ramping up to 10 engagement projects by early 2024.
“When it comes to digital engagement, you need a tool,” he said. “Think of it like a car: I can use a car to move dirt around, but the truth is, I need a truck.”
DOLA’s existing content management system—the car in this analogy—had some tools available but didn’t meet the accessibility and level of quality consumers have come to expect in the Digital Age.
“You have to use the right product because the expectation of the consumer, the savviness of the consumer will be turned off if you’re not using tools that work,” Nicholson said. “That’s the main driver for why we wanted to work with (EngagementHQ).”
Successful engagement is about more than just reaching many people at the same time. It’s also about consistency in message, as well as branding that message in a way that is recognizable and trustworthy.
“Using EngagementHQ, DOLA is able to centralize its engagement under one umbrella with uniform messaging,” he said.
Nicholson said DOLA has seen much better community engagement with some of the recent programs, including Proposition 123.
“We were able to stand up—quickly—the center focal point of one of the biggest housing initiatives the State of Colorado has had in a long time,” he said.
The effort is vast, with many interchangeable components, including funding elements, FAQ resources, public hearings and more.
“For Proposition 123, we’re driving people to our articles, our pulse surveys, our Q&As, all those things,” Nicholson said.