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50 “Next Generation” Digital Engagement Tools

The theme for this year’s NCDD conference, “Democracy for the Next Generation“, is meant to invite us to build on all the innovative tools and practices that have been invigorating our field in recent years. Many of those innovations are digital, and that is why a major goal for NCDD 2014 is to help our field better understand how to utilize technology for engagement and to provide insights and know-how for harnessing the emerging technologies that support dialogue and deliberation. NCDD 2014 will feature tons of “next generation” engagement tech, so don’t miss it – register today!

In keeping with our theme, we are excited to share the great list of 50 “next generation” online engagement tools (no implied endorsement) that our partners at CommunityMatters compiled with help from our friends at New America, EngagingCities, the DDC, and NCDD’s own director. Check out the CM post and the comprehensive list below or find the original version here.


CM_logo-200pxOnline public participation is an effective complement to face-to-face events such as community workshops and design charrettes. Selecting the right platform to get the most out of digital outreach can be overwhelming.

The first step is to learn what tools are out there! Here are 50 tools for online engagement in no particular order (and with no implied endorsement). These digital platforms can help local government consult, collaborate with, and empower citizens in community decision-making.

Once you’ve perused the list, check out the notes and recording of our September 5 conference call with Alissa Black and Pete Peterson, who shared advice for selecting digital tools that align with engagement goals.

  1. coUrbanize: List project information for development proposals and gather online feedback.
  2. Cityzen: Gathers feedback by integrating polling and social media sites.
  3. Community Remarks: Map-based tool for facilitating dialogue and collecting feedback.
  4. Crowdbrite: Organizes comments for online brainstorming sessions and workshops.
  5. EngagementHQ: Provides information and gathers feedback for decision-making.
  6. MetroQuest: Incorporates scenario planning and visualizations for informing the public and collecting feedback.
  7. SeeClickFix: For reporting and responding to neighborhood issues.
  8. Neighborland: Forum that encourages community discussion and action at the neighborhood level.
  9. PublicStuff: Communication system for reporting and resolving community concerns.
  10. MindMixer: Ideation platform for community projects.
  11. NextDoor: Private social network and forum for neighborhoods.
  12. Adopt-a-Hydrant: Allows citizens to help maintain public infrastructure.
  13. CivicInsight: Platform for sharing progress on development of blighted properties.
  14. i-Neighbors: Free community website and discussion forum.
  15. Recovers: Engages the public in disaster preparedness and recovery.
  16. EngagingPlans: Information sharing and feedback forum for productive participation.
  17. Street Bump: Crowdsourcing application to improve public streets.
  18. neighbor.ly: Crowdfunding platform to promote local investment in improvement projects.
  19. TellUs Toolkit: Map-based tools for engagement and decision-making.
  20. Budget Simulator: Tool for educating about budget priorities and collecting feedback.
  21. CrowdHall: Interactive town halls meetings.
  22. Citizinvestor: Crowdfunding and civic engagement platform for local government projects.
  23. Open Town Hall: Online public comment forum for government.
  24. Shareabouts: Flexible tool for gathering public input on a map.
  25. Poll Everywhere: Collects audience responses in real time, live, or via the web.
  26. Tidepools: Collaborative mobile mapping platform for gathering and sharing hyperlocal information.
  27. Community PlanIt: Online game that makes planning playful, while collecting insight on community decisions.
  28. Open311: System for connecting citizens to government for reporting non-emergency issues.
  29. DialogueApp: Promotes dialogue to solve policy challenges with citizen input.
  30. Loomio: Online tool for collaborative decision-making.
  31. PlaceSpeak: Location-based community consultation platform.
  32. Citizen Budget: Involves residents in budgeting.
  33. e-Deliberation: Collaborative platform for large group decision-making.
  34. CrowdGauge: Open-source framework for building educational online games related to public priority setting.
  35. Citizen Space: Manage, publicize, and archive all public feedback activity.
  36. Zilino: Host deliberative online forums and facilitated participatory meetings.
  37. WeJit: Collaborative online decision-making, brainstorming, debating, prioritizing, and more.
  38. Ethelo Decisions: Framework for engagement, conflict resolution, and collective determination.
  39. Community Almanac: Contribute and collect stories about your community.
  40. GitHub: Connecting government employees with the public to collaborate on code, data, and policy.
  41. VividMaps: Engages citizens to map and promote local community assets.
  42. OSCity: Search, visualize, and combine data to gain insight on spatial planning. (EU only.)
  43. Civic Commons: Promoting conversations and connections that have the power to become informed, productive, collective civic action.
  44. Crowdmap: Collaborative mapping.
  45. Codigital: Get input on important issues.
  46. All Our Ideas: Collect and prioritize ideas through a democratic, transparent, and efficient process.
  47. Neighborhow: Create useful how-to guides for the community.
  48. OurCommonPlace: A community web-platform for connecting neighbors.
  49. Front Porch Forum: A free community forum, helping neighbors connect.
  50. PrioritySpend: Prioritization tool based on valuing ideas and possible actions.

Many thanks to the numerous sources whose work supported the creation of this list, including: @alissa007, @dellarucker, @challer, @mattleighninger and @heierbacher.

Did we miss something? Tell us about your favorite digital tools for public engagement in the comments section below!

You can find the original version of this CommunityMatters post at www.communitymatters.org/blog/let%E2%80%99s-get-digital-50-tools-online-public-engagement.

Roshan Bliss on LinkedinRoshan Bliss on Twitter
Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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