Here at Public Agenda, we are receiving many requests right now from people who want to know about online tools for engaging the general public and specific stakeholders.
Public Agenda has been a leader in the engagement field for the past 25 years, and for the past decade we have been paying special attention to the implications of the digital age for the work. We have produced numerous thought pieces, such as Infogagement, Rewiring Democracy, and Toward a More Democracy-Friendly Internet. And we have done a great deal of exploration of practical tools for practitioners, which is what we wish to share here.
We hope this rundown of digital tools and their uses is helpful and are happy to speak with you about them.
- A guide we produced on organizing and moderating online discussions
- The Civic Tech Field Guide describes a wide array of tools, including some for engagement, and now has a special coronavirus response page. It is maintained by Matt Stempeck, Micah Sifry, and our friends at Civic Hall.
- A list of digital engagement tools compiled by Susanna Haas Lyons for IAP2 Canada. The report also includes a broader discussion about and recommendation for high-impact digital engagement.
- Caitlyn Davison of the Orton Family Foundation created a brief index of online public engagement tools that was republished and added to by Public Voice in New Zealand.
We often use this table to summarize some common online tools and their uses:
Here is a basic primer we produced on public engagement that may be helpful for fitting all these pieces together. This reflects many of the ideas and resources described in deeper detail by Tina Nabatchi and Matt Leighninger (Wiley: 2015).
We’ve written more about the potential of online tools here. And if you want to take a deeper dive into the next set of online technologies and how they might aid—and threaten—engagement and democracy, check out our paper on Rewiring Democracy: Subconscious Technologies, Conscious Engagement, and the Future of Politics.
If you’d like to talk with us about how to weave together different types of engagement as part of a coordinated, complementary approach for your organization or community, please let us know!