Good communication is important for any project, but it is particularly crucial for Citizen Observatories. They rely on sustained public involvement in order to gather relevant data, but also because they often aim to bring about change – be that policy change, environmental governance change, or even behavioural change. Communicating interim results helps to keep motivation and engagement high among participants. Effectively communicating the outcomes to the right decision-makers is key to bringing about those desired changes.
In many ways, good communication practices are quite universal. It is important to identify your target audience, use language and visualisations that are relevant and clear, and select the most fitting communication channels and mediums for both the message and the audience. It is also important that you plan for good communication before the launch of a Citizen Observatory initiative in order to ensure that the necessary resources are in place, such as a person or people that are responsible for these activities, and the budget to develop the materials and channels that they will need. This planning should include an understanding of the target audiences, their motivations for taking part, the messaging, and what actions you are asking them to take.