Virtual Engagement Tools and Best Practices - CivicWell

Virtual Engagement Tools and Best Practices



November 3, 2020

CivicWell is providing this summary of best practices, online tools, key considerations and specific guidance, with the hope of supporting our members and partners in creating effective virtual engagement with community members and stakeholders.

Virtual Engagement Tools, Guides, and Best Practices

Community Engagement Tools

Poll Everywhere – An innovative online polling platform. Free and Paid options available.

Community Remarks – Survey map that makes it easy for citizens to access a map, plot a comment, and go. Paid options available.

Crowdbrite – Online platform for crowdsourcing and innovative stakeholder & public engagement. Paid options available.

Mind Mixer – An online engagement platform. Paid options available.

Interactive Text – Platform to engage people through texts. Paid options available.

Survey Monkey – Online survey platform. Paid options available.

MetroQuest – Online planning and engagement platform for online public engagement solution for urban transportation planning. Paid options available.

Bang the Table: Engagement HQ – Platform for local and city governments to drive online public participation. Paid options available.

OpenGov – Online platform to help allocate resources, increase efficiency, improve public engagement, and make data and information readily available to staff and elected officials. Paid options available.

Thoughtexchange – Online crowdsourcing platform to solicit ideas from participants, who then rank the ideas submitted by other meeting participants. Paid options available.

Miro – Online collaborative whiteboard. Free and Paid options available.

Slido – Tool to empower an audience to ask questions, vote in polls and be a part of the discussion. Free and Paid options available. Paid options available.

Balancing Act – An easy-to-use online budget simulation that engages stakeholders to help leaders make tough choices. Paid options available.

Konveio – A digital outreach platform that turns regular PDFs into Social Documents to better convey ideas, collect feedback and spark action. Free and Paid options available.

Social Pinpoint – A customizable community engagement platform to help organizations improve the way they interact and engage their community. Paid options available.

76Engage – A platform for effective digital engagement, providing engagement managers with publishing, management, moderation, analysis, and reporting. Paid options available. – An online engagement platform for anytime, anywhere participation. Paid options available.

Civic Responsibility Guide: Resources to Promote Civic Engagement – Published by Concord Law School.

Meeting Tools

Mentimeter – Platform to create interactive presentations and meetings. Free and Paid options available.

MeetingSift – Collaboration platform to run more productive meetings. Free and Paid options available.

GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar – A video chat client that is one of the most established and reliable in the industry. Paid options available.

Webex – Cisco’s video conference solution, integrates directly with their Citrix cloud platform. Free and Paid options available.

Zoom – The newer and exceedingly popular video conferencing solution for online meetings and conferences. Free and Paid options available.

Facebook Live –  Livestreaming platform for events, performances and gatherings on Facebook. Free options available.

YouTube – A platform to post videos and livestream events. Free options available.

Form Site – Online forms and surveys. Free and Paid options available. – A platform for effortlessly taking meeting notes and minutes. Paid options available.

Kahoot! – A Fun multiple-choice customizable quiz game that users can play from their phones and computers. Free and Paid options available.

Lucidcharts – A web-based proprietary platform that is used to allow users to collaborate on drawing, revising and sharing charts and diagrams. Free and Paid options available.

Examples of Tools in Action

Mullen Area Master Plan, Missoula, Montana — Online virtual charrette.

Unincorporated San Mateo County Active Transportation – Project engagement page using

City of San Luis Obispo Open City Hall – Online forum using OpenGov’s Open City Hall.


Best Practices and Guides

NCDD Resource Center, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Understanding Digital-First Community Engagement, Bang the Table

COVID-19 Public Participation Resources, International Association of Public Participation

COVID-19 Resources for Individuals & Governments, National Civic League

Citizens Voices & Values on Covid-19, Participedia

Virtual Toolkit, Divided Community Project

Broadening Public Participation Using Online Engagement Tools, Institute for Local Government

Equitable Public Participation, Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability

Participation Tools for Better Community Planning, Local Government Commission

Town Planning Stuff Everyone Needs to Know: Ep 13: Staying Engaged, Online, Dover Kohl & Associates – Town planner Victor Dover describes how and why to keep collaboration going, even during times of crisis and social distancing.

Virtual Public Engagement: A more Inclusive Approach to Charrettes, CNU

How to do Online Meetings and Town Halls Webinar, City of Oakland

How To do Online Meetings & Town Halls Toolkit, City of Oakland

COVID-19 Resources for Nonprofits, Catchafire – Resources to explore hosting virtual events, remote work, online programming, and other critical needs for right now.

How To Facilitate Effective Virtual Meetings, Beth’s Blog

Online Meeting Resources Toolkit for Facilitators During Coronavirus Pandemic, Facilitators for Pandemic Response Group (

Online Facilitation Resources, 350 Global Trainings

The Definitive Guide To Facilitating Remote Workshops, MURAL – Insights, tools and case studies from digital-first companies and expert facilitators.

Virtual Meetings for Clarity and Momentum, CoCreative

Facilitating Effective Virtual Meetings; Sarah Rubin, Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, California Department of Conservation

Online Collaboration Tools, Community at Work

Tips for Online Retreats and Meetings

Zoom tutorials for phone & computer; English & Español, UC Merced

This information is only provided as a resource. CivicWell provides no claims for the information on these sites.