5 best tools to enhance digital civic engagement

Rocket.Chat Content Team
July 5, 2024
min read

Civic engagement is now one of the key activities that define a healthy democracy. Moreover, digital civic engagement fosters trust between citizens and the government. 

The result? 

A more accountable governance. Without this, democratic societies are likely to turn into isolated and indifferent societies that do not meet the needs of their citizens.

Technology empowers individuals to express themselves, engage in politics, and participate in social causes, fostering real-time collaboration and transcending geographical boundaries. On the other hand, social media enables rapid calls to action and information dissemination, making civic engagement more inclusive and accessible.

Let’s dig deeper into how the top-notch digital civic engagement tools are shaping the democratic society.

Platforms for civic participation and collaboration

Several platforms or forums allow secure civic engagement and collaboration, such as:

Online forums and discussion boards

Reddit and Quora are examples of social media platforms where people engage in discussions on civic matters. These platforms facilitate the sharing of knowledge and the ability to debate.

Social media as a tool for civic engagement

Social networks effectively increase the visibility of issues and mobilize people for action. It makes it possible for information to be disseminated and also makes it possible for people to interact in real time. 

Some campaigns and movements have even been created and have grown in popularity through these platforms almost instantly. For instance, the recent All Eyes on Rafah posts have garnered more than 47 million shares on social media.

Crowdfunding platforms and citizen initiatives

Citizens can use crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe to fund projects in their communities. These platforms leverage the collective power to solve local problems, including constructing playgrounds and financing social programs.

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Top 5 digital civic engagement tools

Here are the top 5 digital civic engagement tools that meet the requirements of several citizens:

  1. Rocket.Chat

Rocket.Chat is regarded by experts as one of the most flexible and customizable tools for effective team communication. It comes with ironclad end-to-end encryption that protects the messages and ensures compliance with GDPR for over 12 million users in 150 countries. 

The open-sourced platform also provides high data security, adhering to ISO 27001, GDPR, CCPA, LGPD, and HIPAA standards. 

Rocket.Chat is highly scalable and promotes collaboration. Because of these attributes, it is used in sensitive sectors such as defense, education, and healthcare. 

Key features

  • Team collaboration: Organize messages, projects, and tasks in one place to increase efficiency.
  • Omnichannel customer service: Interact with customers through multiple touchpoints for a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Chat engine: Target users with specific messages within applications or websites to increase the level of interaction.
  • Marketplace: Expand your work environment with your applications, open API access, and robust add-ons.
  • Data control: Select from on-premises, offline, or secure cloud hosting.
  • Privacy: Experience the benefits of end-to-end encryption and data protection that meets GDPR, CCPA, LGPD, and HIPAA standards.
  1. CentralSquare

CentralSquare is a secure cloud-based solution that helps public sector organizations and citizens. The tools change the way people interact and live in society, offering important tools to improve productivity and security.

Key features

  • Cloud solutions: Tools can be safely accessed from any location, including during disasters, to ensure that work continues smoothly.
  • Public administration: Effectively handles financial, human resources, payroll, fixed assets, permits, licenses, and taxes.
  • Public safety & justice: A complete solution to help public safety agencies improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Interoperability: CAD-to-CAD systems guarantee smooth dispatch across jurisdictions, thus improving response time and coordination.

  1. PublicInput

PublicInput provides state and local governments with effective tools for engaging the public. It aims to make it easier to contact and mobilize governments and residents and increases the chances of their participation.

Key features

  • Email campaigns: Design powerful campaigns with drag-and-drop simplicity.
  • Text/SMS: Use text messages for sending reminders, updates and even conducting surveys.
  • Project websites: Create templates or develop project-specific sites.
  • Equity mapping: Census and GIS data should be combined to guarantee a fair representation of various groups.
  • CRM integration: Ensure that data is compiled and stored efficiently and that there is a master database
  1. Granicus

Granicus is implemented across several government organizations worldwide. It focuses on facilitating better online services and communication approaches. Granicus aims to close the digital divide, thus enhancing the delivery of public services.

Key features

  • Unified experience: Connects websites, services, and communication to ensure that residents can interact with them easily.
  • Public meetings: Saves prep time through automation and digitization.
  • Records management: Reduces costs, including eliminating expenses.

  1. Orbit Community Platform

Orbit seeks to change the way organizations interact with and listen to their stakeholders. It highlights ideas and boosts content created by users. Orbit is perfect for cultivating champions, collecting feedback, and minimizing support tickets, which helps to save time and money.

Key features

  • Launch programs: It can also be used to efficiently coordinate and grow customer interaction programs.
  • AI-powered search: Link users to the right information in various forums.
  • 360° view: Gives detailed information about the activity of users and their attitude towards the product or service.
  • Automate workflows: Organizes messaging and alerts according to the member’s activity.
  • Trend analysis: Helps to determine what topics are shared to improve the documentation and user experience.

Key features for digital civic engagement tools

Let’s go over the key features you have to consider while choosing a digital civic engagement tool for your next initiative:

User-friendly platforms and interfaces

Digital civic engagement tools should be intuitive and promote engagement. Complicated interfaces prevent users from interacting with the application, thus resulting in low engagement levels. 

For example, the interface of GovTrack is quite plain and straightforward, which makes it easy for users to locate the information on the legislation. 

Ensuring accessibility and inclusion

Accessibility is an important factor that must be considered in the development of digital tools to ensure that they are usable by all users, including those with disabilities. More than one billion individuals in the world today have some form of disability. This segment is important because it means that a large part of the population is being left out. 

Screen readers, text-to-speech, and high contrast mode are some of the very important features in this regard. 

Data privacy and security considerations

68% of users are concerned with their privacy online, which affects their interaction. So, civic engagement tools must have comprehensive security features to safeguard the data of the users. 

End-to-end encryption is a must. Also, go for secure data storage, and remember the tool’s security audits should be conducted regularly. 

Safe, accessible, and technology-enabled participation for everyone

Secure digital civic engagement tools not only increase the possibility of participation but also encourage people to feel that they are part of a community and have a role to play. 

The mantra is to foster a more inclusive society where everyone has a say and is heard. 

Safe and regulatory-compliant collaboration solutions such as Rocket.Chat have a significant role in making these interactions safe, private, and trustworthy. Its flexibility and open-sourced nature provide a highly collaborative environment. 

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