Participation phase

You should now have taken care of all the practical preparations, so you are ready to put your project into practice. Now it is all about creating a good environment for the participation to take place – and last but definitely not least to have an impact.

Moderation in e-Participation

A key to a successful eParticipation project is a good online community manager. A community manager is a cross between a guard and a friend making sure that everything is going the right way. When discussions are side-lined, you should get discussions back on track.

And most importantly, don’t leave the young users alone for 24 hours. Being an online community manager is potentially more than a 9 to 5 job. However, it is understandably not possible for you to be online day and night. Therefore, before you launch your eParticipation project you should decide how often you will be available online, and then you should communicate this clearly to the young participants. If you can’t be present outside office hours, make it known to the young people when they can expect answers.

8 helpful tips you keep in mind during your participation phase

  1. ‘All’ you have to do now is to carry out your participatory activities
    Maybe it is not that easy :)

  2. Prepare a step-by-step guide
    Create a document where all points of your participation phase are fleshed out in detail, so every team member knows exactly what to do when and where.

  3. Organise a training session
    There are always participants and team members that are late to the party. With a training session you can also get them on board and integrate them into the participation process.

  4. Keep an eye on the desicion makers
    It can be very useful also to organise a briefing session with them, so they are primed for online and offline eventa and know exactly what is expected from them.

  5. Do a final check-up and be visibly in control
    Provide info material, stay in contact with the participants and the desicion makers. Check in regularly with your team. Carrying out a successful participation phase with happy young participants and great results as the outcome!

  6. Introduce rules for good dialogue to the young participants
    Your project might be the first time for your participants in taking part in a democratic exercise. Therefore, it is even more important that they have a good experience, so they will actually take part the next time they are invited to express their opinion.
  7. Ask the young participants to evaluate  
    Firstly, and as touched upon in the Idea phase, you will learn what went well, and what you could do differently the next time you set up a similar project. Secondly, it is documentation for decision-makers.

  8. Follow-up with your participants
    You should keep the young participants updated on the progress of your project. You should communicate the results of the event and explain how they have already been and will be used.