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How Websites Can Help Local Governments as Business Transitions During COVID 19

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a considerable strain on the staff and elected officials of local governments. Social distancing requirements require the cancelation of in-person public meetings and the closing of offices. Municipalities are facing the challenge of navigating these new limitations while still meeting all of the requirements their residents have. Given this, websites and electronic communication have never been more important.

GovUnity is on the forefront of assisting local governments through these difficult times. We are committed to working with you to help your community stay connected during these unprecedented times. Included below are steps local governments can take to address the changing landscape.

  • Implement Emergency Communications: Residents need accurate and timely information, especially during a crisis. It is crucial that municipalities are able to promptly update communities about the ever-changing situation. In this environment of social distancing, electronic communication is the perfect tool. Here are some of the tools our clients have used to stay connected with their audience:
    • Emergency Pop-Up Box: This is a notification display that immediately pops up when someone visits the website. The notification can contain just a message or a message and a link to another page that has additional information.
    • Emergency Communication Banner: This is located across the top of every web page. Like the pop-up box, this banner can display a message or a message and a link.
    • Emergency Announcement Web Pages: Web pages can be created to provide residents with the information they need in an organized and searchable fashion.
    • Social Media Feeds: If your municipality uses social media, a social media feed can be installed on the website. That way all social media posts will automatically be posted on the website.
  • Video and/or Audio Broadcast of Municipal Meetings: Municipalities can either record or live stream public meetings. The meetings can then be archived and accessible at future dates.
  • Transition Paper Forms to Online Forms: With many municipal offices being closed, residents can no longer stop in to pick up or drop off paperwork. Forms that must be physically completed and returned can easily be transitioned to an online form. The resident goes online, completes the form, and submits it to the municipal staff electronically. The staff receives the form as an email. This is a perfect way to share information while eliminating the physical sharing of papers.
  • Create a Staff and Elected Official Portal: Prior to COVID-19, elected officials were able to physically share information with each other at meetings or in the office. By creating a password-protected portal, municipalities can now share private information with complete confidentiality. Meeting agendas and minutes that used to be printed and shared can now be scanned and saved to a folder that is behind a password-protected firewall.
  • Direct Residents to Available Resources: In difficult times such as these, finding the available resources is crucial to many residents. Municipalities should serve as a conduit to assist residents in finding the services they need. Through their websites, municipalities are able to provide links and contact information to programs such as food banks, blood drives, federal and state programs and other agencies that are providing much needed assistance.

Are you looking to create a new website for your municipality? Or update and existing site? GovUnity focuses on working with clients to create accessible websites that are easy to navigate, so you can connect with your residents. Contact GovUnity to learn more.