Citizen Budget Online Budget Simulator For Local Governments2021-05-13T12:40:09-07:00

north America's Leading Budget Simulator

Ethelo’s Citizen Budget is a powerful online budget simulator that helps local governments:
  • Build trust and transparency among the community
  • Educate residents on the hard decisions their council makes
  • Assess resident satisfaction with current service levels
  • Consult with the public and gain valuable feedback

Inform and engage your residents

Unlike a regular survey or a budget visualization software, Citizen Budget is an interactive, easy-to-use platform that shows the financial impacts of participants’ choices in real time, educating them about the trade-offs and constraints faced by their municipality.

Our user-friendly budget exercise creates an open dialogue between community members and city staff, providing both parties with rich, detailed insights concerning local priorities.

Searching for an engagement platform that makes budgeting easy and accessible? We can help. 

See it in action

Make it easy with Auto-Balance budget

Balancing a budget has never been easier.

Avoid frustration and drop-off with this tool that uses participants’ pre-specified priorities to automatically calculate the closest approximation to their ideal budget while ensuring it’s balanced.

Reach beyond the “usual suspects” with Citizens’ Panels

Using a variety of online and offline media, our process allows you to reach a cross-section of community members. This process ensures fair and accurate results that are representative of your population, and helps identify the least polarizing policy options.

 Get real-time results that build transparency and save you time

  • Earn community support and buy-in: Educate citizens and increase transparency about the hard budgeting choices their council makes
  • Save hours of staff work with Ethelo’s real-time results and focus on what’s most important to you and your team

The Tax Assessment Tool: educational and interactive

  • Provide transparency and empower your residents to go through their own budgeting experience, adapted to their personal situation.
  • Allow residents to see how their city invests their taxes. They are able to decide on trade-offs as they go through their own budget experience.

What our Clients Say

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Frequently asked Questions

We use Canadian servers therefore your data is held under Canadian law. If you are in the United States, we also provide an option to host your data in your country.

The participants and their responses are held in two separate databases – so although you can cross-analyze how various groups voted, you cannot match how any individual participant specifically voted (similar to how our electorate system works). Privacy & security are an utmost concern.

A representative sample is a subset of a population that accurately reflects the characteristics of the larger group. When a representative sample has participated, your council/staff can make confident decisions from your Ethelo engagement knowing the results reflect your constituents. 

A representative sample must reflect the various demographics (age, sex, income, political views, etc) of your community. Our Participant Recruitment services can specifically target and attract larger and more diverse groups of people to achieve representative sampling. Ethelo provides 4 levels of representative accuracy; 90%, 95%, 98% and 99%.

We collect 5 types of data on Ethelo:

  1. Survey data, which often includes demographic data such as age, gender etc.
  2. Comment data, that is, the comments that people make on the Ethelo platform
  3. Vote data, that is, how people scored, ranked and weighted the various options to identify their favourite scenario
  4. Usage data; which includes how long were people on the platform, types of device used, how many of the questions did they answer
  5. Personally identifying information, such as names and emails.

We ensure privacy protection is various ways:

  1. Transmission of information: We use https encryption to ensure that information is not captured in its journey from the participants device to our server.
  2. Server security: We use best practices in terms of server and password security. We are hosted on large cloud platforms including Google Cloud and AWS which are market leaders in security and have constantly updated firewalls, etc.
  3. Jurisdictional security: All data is hosted in Canada, and comes under the jurisdiction of Canadian law.
  4. Architectural security: All personally identifying information is segmented and stored separately on the database level from survey, comment, vote, and usage data. Clients can download names and emails as one file, and the other, anonymized data in another file. They can analyze the anonymized sets but they are not able to connect that data with personally identifying data. There is an exception in some cases, if the participant gives explicit permission through a special consent form on the platform but this is generally a rare occasion and reserved for special use cases.

Absolutely. Each consultation can be written in the preferred language and on its own unique URL.

Currently, Ethelo system words (“next” etc) are available in English, French, Spanish, Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin and Mongolian. Other languages available on request.

You are responsible for writing your custom content in whatever language(s) you select. If your consultation includes several versions each presented in different languages, then the results from each language can all be calculated into the same collective results on request.

Your staff can have as many moderators as you’d like. You’ll have access to the moderation panel in the admin area that allows you to search/edit/delete any comments at any time.

Participants are able to flag comments they deem to be inappropriate which notifies your moderators.

We recommend that staff interact with participants on the platform, answer questions and clarify information. Although comments are usually helpful and respectful, we also recommend you direct participant’s attention to the Usage Policy or add a ‘how to comment’ section at the beginning of the engagement journey to inform participants.

None. The engagement process is hosted on our servers. You can embed our platform on your website, or link it from anywhere to our dedicated URL.

You will need around 4-5 days to decide which topics to include in the consultation and gather the contents (images, text, financial information).

This may require internal communication so we recommend starting early on this. Once the information is provided the fulfillment team will need 5-7 business days to build the first draft of the Ethelo platform.

Once that is complete, you can access the admin panel to edit the contents or add more pages. We can assist with best practices/tips regarding the content, and we’re here to support you the entire way.

Learn more about Budget Consultations and Citizen Budget

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