What do you want to ask Mayor McGinn?

Wednesday, August 22, at 7 p.m. is Ask The Mayor on the Seattle Channel. Got a burning question?  

Here’s how to get your question to Mayor McGinn:

  1. Call 206-684-8821 during the live show from 7-8 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 22.
  2. Email: askthemayor@seattle.gov
  3. Submit a question online: seattlechannel.org/AskTheMayor
  4. Twitter: @SeattleChannel
  5. Facebook: facebook.com/SeattleChannel


Grant available to engage communities & neighborhoods using online technology!


The Online Boost Project was developed in response to what we learned from the Seattle Communities Online assessment and presentations at Neighborhood District Council and community group meetings. Neighborhood groups want to build their capacity to do effective outreach online, maintain their content, foster online engagement and use City widgets and tools.

We are looking for up to 15 projects who will receive up to $1000 in matching funds and will also participate in workshops with experts in using social media. Our goal is to boost their capacity through a project that takes them 3 months or less to complete. This is a one-time initiative and not something we’re currently able to commit to on an ongoing basis.  This program is administered by Community Technology Program of the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology (DoIT).

Program Goals

The Online Boost Project is designed to enhance skills and proficiency on the use of online resources for community groups with workshops, mentorship and seed funding to implement and/or increase their web presence. In coordination with the Seattle Communities Online initiative, we are seeking opportunities to enhance:

  • Increased awareness of community issues;
  • Increased community participation in problem solving; and
  • Increased interaction with government.

Online Boost grantees will have access to:

  • Up to $1000 mini-grants for a quick, specific project to be completed within 3 months.
  • Workshop (required in order to receive funding) where participants would leave the workshop knowing what resources are out there, what their plan of action will be, and how to go about implementing.
  • Mentorship and networking opportunities

The deadline is Tuesday, July 12 at midnight. The application is submitted online and all interested groups must register ahead of time in order to access the application.  You can register at: http://webgrants.seattle.gov.  If you have already registered for another grant with the City, you can log in with your user ID and password and select “Funding Opportunities” and then “Online Boost Grant.”

For help and resources visit the Online Boost Project at http://www.seattle.gov/seattlecommunitiesonline/boost.htm.

For in-person help please contact:

Amy Hirotaka, amy.hirotaka@seattle.gov, by phone at 206-733-9445; or

Vicky Yuki, vicky.yuki@seattle.gov, by phone at 206-233-7877.

Using Google forms to survey community members

Google Forms – free for those with Google accounts – can perform many of the same functions as an online tool like Surveymonkey.  Since Surveymonkey charges a monthly fee for surveys over 10 questions long, it’s worth exploring Google Forms to find out if you can send out effective surveys for FREE!

Go to the Google Docs page http://docs.google.com (this requires the user to sign in with a Google account) and click on the “Create New” drop down menu.  Select “Form.”

From here, you can create a questionnaire or survey with a variety of answer types: text, multiple choice, check boxes, choosing from a list, scale, or grid.  As soon as you start setting up your survey, Google generates a live web form with an associated url that you can share or email to your contacts – the link is available at the bottom of the page.  A number of attractive templates are available to choose from, as well.

When someone fills out your survey/questionnaire, the time-stamped responses automatically fill in a Google spreadsheet.  It’s easy to export this spreadsheet into Microsoft Excel to perform a more complex analysis of responses.

Overall, Google Forms is a user-friendly, functional online survey tool.  Have fun!

Using wikis for online community building

Netsquared, an initiative of Techsoup Global, hosted a session earlier this year called “How Nonprofits Can Use Wikis + Online Community Building.”  You can view a video of the session’s three wiki-experts here and learn about this simple collaborative tool.

One quote from the Adam Frey, the co-creator of Wikispaces, seems particularly relevant: “A wiki is a means, not an end.”

The video about 1.5 hours long, and some of the content focuses on K-12 education.  Nonetheless, the majority of the presentation is certainly relevant and helpful to community and neighborhood groups.

Are you using a wiki for your organization?  Let us know in the comments!