Closing the loop: how do you give feedback?

What’s happening now?

In response to my question the majority of people were happy to talk about what they do now or have used in the past. This includes:

  • Collecting contact information along the way (asking if they want to be kept up to date) and then sending emails or eNewsletters — Charmaine Cooper
  • We asked, you said, we’re doing’ — Phil Coyne and also ‘you said, we did’ which is concise (bullet pointed) and powerful — Debbie Williams (I have also used this as it’s a great way of showing the whole process you have been through together)
  • Through monthly community management team meetings — Nadine Herring
  • Showing through ‘ticks’ the things that were able to be influenced and ‘crosses’ for those that were unable to be changed — Debbie Williams
  • Produced a simple brochure outlining the original ‘engagement question’, a summary of the community’s comments, how those comments influenced the decision making process, and the final decision. Sent to every person who had participated, registered an interest or had been identified as a stakeholder — Jeanette Gellard
  • Easy read reports that actually quote community members and show diagrams of where a plan has been influenced. Easy where it’s something visible like a park, reserve even footpath because photos and plans are very good visual aids — Andrew Coulson
  • A diagram to show how information from specific engagement activities (workshops, submissions, surveys) has informed specific chapters or sections of reports or plan — Anna Glasby
  • Give each contribution a tag or log number and use that for footnoting in reports so people can see where their contribution has been used, as it acknowledges their direct contribution directly — Anna Glasby
  • Local community media and the press — Adam Harper and Brenton Chappell
  • 70 facilitators recorded comments and 3 people inputted into excel with primary and secondary themes which became part of a ‘what was said’ document and then a plan to enable people to ‘do’ what they said they would — Scott MacAfee
  • Comments were written down and posted on the wall at an event so participants could see their comments written down and hear it echoed back to the whole room — instant and direct and not just confined to a table — Scott MacAfee
  • I theme similar comments by using multiple coloured pens, count them up and give relevant feedback often picking out a few key comments with a name and location (postcode) that reflects the sentiment of that theme in sharing the final report — Andrew Coulson

Moving forward

To quote another contributor, Brenton Chappell, ‘the promise to provide outcomes information is so much easier to deliver these days’ and I have to agree. Opportunity is much easy these days and through that opportunity is the ability to be creative. Communication channels are so much easy to access, use and are spread across so many different platforms and tools. Many tools available allow you to be more creative and the vast array of communication platforms allow you to reach either a targeted or whole community audience. So in answer to the second question what creative ways have you seen this is what people said?

  • Video — a fantastic way of saying thank you! If captured from the outset, it could show the engagement process and how the final outcome was achieved as well as the community (hopefully) approving the project — Matt Murray and Charmaine Cooper
  • Video — a short video with snippets of community events/vox pops/overlayed with some statements/key outcomes etc would be received well — Janet Pryor
  • Video — actually get the community involved in the filming — Andrew Coulson
  • Rip it up’ — David Plouffe said he asked participants to provide feedback on the actual final report by tearing it apart as long as they build it back up again with recommendations for future iterations. Allows for participants to have a conversation about the contents.
  • Infographics — visual feedback is easy to digest and uses quick digestible facts — Sam Rye and Andrew Coulson
  • Word Clouds — Sam Rye
  • Social Media — use to announce key points and link to further information on our website — Merryn Spencer
  • Social Media — to reach the broader population — Brenton Chappell
  • Tools like Vocaleyes suggested by Sarah Hoss and TownHallApp suggested by developer of said app Keren Flavell allow thoughts, comments and ideas to be collected online but also have automated feedback options through email collection so direct feedback can be provided on how comments are used.
  • Canva — a design tool that lets you create pretty awesome posters, leaflets, Facebook posts and Instagram’s for use in feedback… and to some extent its free –commsgodigital Facebook group



Community Engagement, Civic Tech & Public Consultation Thought Leader. #gatehashing & #globalcommunityengagementday instigator.

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Andrew Coulson

Andrew Coulson


Community Engagement, Civic Tech & Public Consultation Thought Leader. #gatehashing & #globalcommunityengagementday instigator.