Wrapping Up and Reporting Your Virtual Public Involvement Results the Right Way


Our Virtual Public Involvement Checklist for Success blog series has discussed ways to begin planning your online engagement project and shared a 3-step guide to best engage your target audience. Finally, it’s time to discuss the third and final phase: reporting. 

Everything we do throughout the planning and engagement process leads to one thing… results. It’s time to look at the data, which will hopefully inform your project moving forward and show your community how you will handle their feedback. 

  1. Understanding our Representation
  2. Understanding the Public Input
  3. Communicating the Results
  4. Wrapping Up and Following Up
ENGAGEMENT PHASE                                                                                PLANNING PHASE


Reporting Phase 

1. Understanding our Representation 

Did we meet our participation and diversity goals? 

Remember, don’t steer away from your goals! Now is the time to look back and reflect. Which demographics were you hoping to reach in your public engagement? Keep track of how your demographic group is being represented. If some groups were under or overrepresented, weigh the findings to accurately represent your community.  

When you have broader and diverse participation, hearing back from significant difficult-to-reach segments of people, you can make valid conclusions.  

2. Understanding the Public Input 

What are the priorities/concerns? How can we best understand the patterns and trends in the input? 

Results often reveal communities’ true priorities and the issues that matter most to them. It’s important to listen to what people are saying and learn from the results. Take them into account when examining community demographics moving forward. You’ll find it helpful to analyze the patterns and trends in your data as much as possible, so you have something to look back on. 

Surprising results are a very probable outcome. However, as you begin interpreting results, discuss with your team how the community’s needs, priorities and preferences affect the plan. In some cases, teams don’t begin writing out project objectives until after the campaign is over. This eliminates the chance of any preconceived biases affecting the plan in its development stages.  

To satisfy your participants, there may need to be some mitigation strategies implemented that can help address the needs that cannot be directly incorporated into the plan. Determine the primary messages you want to promote from the findings; what will be done as a result and what can be expected in the future. 

3. Communicating the Results 

What channels do we have for reporting? 

Return to all the social channels and project website or homepage, where people know where to find you. This is a great place to start reporting the results to decision-makers, key stakeholders, participants and the public. Making the results as digestible as possible is important so they are easy to understand, for example, through:

  • PowerPoint
  • Infographics
  • Video
  • Social and traditional media

Important to note: Accurate representation is vital. You should communicate both the majority and minority viewpoints received. Let the public know how their input influenced the outcome. 

4. Wrapping Up and Following Up 

Is there any specific follow-up needed for individual participants?  

Be willing to answer requests and questions. Offer a session where you review the results and give updates on the plan, allowing an opportunity to receive feedback and learn if something important was left out of the conversation. Consider ways to document your approach moving forward. What worked and what didn’t? What steps make the most significant difference?  

Two tips to consider: 

    • Regularly update participants and communicate next steps 

    • Consider what future efforts can be made to achieve success and avoid failures


    ENGAGEMENT PHASE                                                                                PLANNING PHASE


    Read our Virtual Public Involvement Checklist for Success, vetted by experts from 30+ DOTs and MPOs! 


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