GaYA: Which tips and tricks are useful for you and why?

In this process you'll find parts of the OPIN guideline. Please comment on them so we are able to improve them.

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This process should give you a first opportunity to have a look at the OPIN guidelines. The guidelines accumulate information concerning participation processes and everything that is important to keep in mind with regard to this. Please read them carefully and tell us if you have any comments.

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Please give us your comments on the guidelines.

The guidelines shall help initiators of eParticipation projects to set-up successful processes.

Open Guideline

Tips and tricks for more and better youth eParticipation

The OPIN guidelines are designed to assist initiators who wish to carry out youth eParticipation projects on the OPIN platform (, developed by the EUth project partners, as well as initiators of youth participation in general – both online and offline – who can also benefit from reading them. Whether you are working in a public administration, a youth organisation, or somewhere completely different, the OPIN guidelines are here to help you. The guidelines offer practical tips and tricks and direct your attention to issues you need to consider in order to succeed with your project. References are made to other resources that might help you where these guidelines do not go into much detail.

Why youth eParticipation?

In general, young people are more active users of online forums and social media than older citizens and more difficult to engage in face-to-face participatory processes, such as workshops and town hall meetings. One response to this is to design face-to-face participation in such a way that is more appealing to the young people. Another is to meet and engage with them online, which is the main reason why the OPIN platform has been developed. However, there are other arguments for choosing eParticipation methods as a substitute for – or a supplement to – face-to-face participatory methods:

- Independence of space and time. People can participate where and when they want. - Lower costs. Direct costs for a physical venue, transport and catering can be avoided. - Scaling up. More people can participate without adding much to the costs. - Greater transparency. Each step of the participatory process can be tracked and made available.

It is important to be aware of the fact that the arguments listed above are only potential benefits that may not apply to the youth participatory process that you are planning. Your process may not need to be independent of space and time; eParticipation can be costly in other ways than face-to-face participation (e.g. time spent on keeping participants engaged and software license); it is often more difficult than expected to attract large numbers of participants; and over-focusing on transparency may result in participants getting lost in the details. But here the OPIN guidelines are your helpline. They will provide you with tips and tricks for reaping all the benefits that eParticipation projects have to offer.

Recruit the young participants

Without participants, there is no participatory project. Recruitment is often one of the most time-consuming tasks in a participatory project – and there is no indication that recruitment for online participatory activities is easier than recruiting for offline ones. Having designed a killer project is not always necessarily enough. The first thing that you have to do is to prepare a recruitment strategy. You have already identified the young people whom you would like to invite to take part in the project. In the box below we have included a selection of methods which are often used in participatory projects. Have a look and choose the ones that suit your project and country.

If your project runs for several months, recruitment is not a one-off activity. It is something which takes place continuously. However, in this case, you need to decide whether it is important to retain the same group of people throughout the whole process, which does not necessarily have to be the case.

Recruit face-to-face

Even though parts of your project are happening online, experience shows that the best way to recruit young people and make them aware of and interested in a project is by meeting them face-to-face. One way of doing this is to meet and present the project to the young people where they already are: For example, in schools and youth and sports clubs. If you have young ambassadors it can be useful to involve them in these kinds of visits, especially if you are not a spring chicken yourself. At eye level, the young ambassadors can advocate for the importance of the young people voicing their opinion and therefore taking part in the project. Another option is to ask your endorsers with decision-making power to join. This will send the message to the young participants that the decision-makers are genuinely interested in listening to their opinions.

Use peer-to-peer approach

This method is similar to the snowball method which works like this: The young ambassadors invite other young people from their network to participate, who then recruit young people from their network and so on.

Send letters of invitation

In the context of eParticipation it may sound like an old-fashioned method. However, receiving an invitation with your name on it in your letter box will often make the receiver feel a bit more special and take the invitation more seriously. You can of course also send an email, but the invitation can easily get overlooked in an already crammed inbox. Being able to apply this method will of course require that you have access to a record of addresses. Again, having access to and obtaining this kind of record is highly country specific: in some countries, you can obtain the addresses through the Office of Civil Registration. Another option is to buy the addresses from a market research company.

Recruit by telephone

This method is similar to the method above. Instead of sending a letter of invitation you give the young people a call.

SoMe and website

You can invite young people to participate in your project through online advertisements and open invitations. Your young ambassadors could also play an important role here as they will most likely be members of Facebook groups and the like where they can share the project’s advertisements. Have a look at the tip Compose a communication strategy to be publicly visible too!


We will have a look at all the comments that you contribute. Subsequently we will include them in our advisory activities. Thanks a lot for helping us with this.

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