Local Agencies Using Smart Community Input for Better COVID-19 Decisions

Local Agencies Using Smart Community Input for Better COVID-19 DecisionsAre lockdown protesters the voice of the majority or just the loudest voice? How do you know?

Most public agencies are familiar with the struggle to identify true community needs–instead of just acting on what they hear from a few noisy people. But now, with coronavirus impacting so many lives and livelihoods, it’s become critical that local leaders get broad and representative input. 

How many people are hurting and how much? Are they more worried about physical health or financial health? How do impacts and concerns vary by age? What can be done to help?

These are kinds of things officials need to know but can’t without statistically valid community input.

For several years, FlashVote has been quietly rolling out its rapid scientific survey system to help local and state governments with different important decisions. Now, they are busy helping agencies answer similar questions for their communities.

The team at FlashVote has recently added a new Mini Case Studies page to its website, featuring ways that public agencies are using FlashVote input in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“At first the most popular topic was understanding community impacts. But now reopening issues are picking up steam. And it looks like budget challenges and service reprioritizations will be next.” said Kevin Lyons, co-founder and CEO of FlashVote.

While the case studies are “mini” at only a few sentences each, the impact of the surveys is not. Governments are using the data to inform and improve what they do. They are often surprised by what they learn. Once decision-makers see a true snapshot of reality, they are able to use that information to adapt or change plans to better serve their residents.

A town in California discovered that they should focus on local health risks first, before financial assistance. A California county learned that resident priorities and concerns about reopening were different from those of protesters. A neighboring state learned how to better promote voting by mail. Customers across the country are asking similar questions to inform their own decisions. FlashVote can provide this real-time decision support because surveys take just 48 hours from launch to results.

Lyons continued, “We’ve kept a low profile, but our customers are encouraging us to get the word out more, especially now. So, we’re sharing some use cases and real survey results that might be interesting or helpful to people. It feels great to help governments figure out what to do in these challenging times.”