Ethelo for Local Governments
Engage your residents more effectively
Short on time and resources? With Ethelo’s platform and services, we can help you deliver more meaningful community engagement with actionable results.
More than 150 local governments trust Ethelo
Reach beyond the usual suspects and get more representative samples of your residents, whether you’re consulting about development proposals, land use by-laws, or master plans.
“We definitely benefited from Ethelo’s engagement platform when we communicated and collected feedback about changes to the Gibsons’ Official Community Plan with community members.”
Director of Planning, City of Gibsons
Empower your residents to understand complex financial choices and build consensus for community priorities.
“What I found really valuable was how the platform automatically adjusted tax dollars in line with what was important to each individual. This makes it much easier to be transparent with numbers across the board, which is always helpful for municipalities.”
Community Engagement Coordinator, City of Lloydminster
For Climate & Sustainability
Educate residents about the trade-offs involved in your climate strategy and identify actions that have broad support.
“We learned a lot about the priorities of our particular community, and gained further understanding of our citizenry through the 233 pages of comments the survey garnered.”
Darryl J. Martin
Chair, Climate Action Plan Steering Committee, Salt Spring Island
We can work with you to customize and level up your engagements.
Discover how the City of Lethbridge engaged more than 2,000 residents in a capital improvement planning process to ensure they prioritized the right projects.
How Ethelo compares to other engagement tools
(Bang The Table)
|Surveys and polls|
|Media embedding (images, videos, maps)||Custom branding|
|Templates for local government|
|Commenting and ideation|
|Budget simulation||Built-in||External platform|
|Prioritizations and trade-offs|
|Consensus and scenario analysis|
|Real-time results for participants|
|Pin dropping on maps|
|Marketing and outreach support|
|Custom reports and analysis|
An Award-Winning Platform
Ranked #1 Digital Democracy Platform by the UK Solonian Institute
Frequently Asked Questions
In addition to our platform, we also offer a suite of professional services from our team of experts. We will work with you to create a public engagement campaign that ensures participation from a large representative sample of residents in your community. It begins with a digital outreach strategy tailored to your budget and needs, along with targeted campaigns using a broad array of online and offline channels.
Ethelo is specifically designed to model complex decisions with many trade-offs and potential outcomes. Unlike traditional surveys, Ethelo focuses on communication, fairness and consensus, allowing participants to educate themselves on the different aspects of complicated issues, so that their vote is informed and reflects realistic goals. It increases transparency so participants are confident that the process is fair and unbiased.
The major difference between traditional surveys and the Ethelo decision framework is that surveys only provide a simplistic view of feelings surrounding a decision, whereas Ethelo allows participants to engage in the decision-making process, and generate solutions and alternatives that are amenable to all stakeholders.
Based on the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation, Ethelo is at the Collaborative or Empowering end of the spectrum:
Pricing depends on the size of your community and the complexity of engagement you want to do. We complete an assessment of your unique community and propose pricing on minimum, medium, and maximum-sized engagements, depending on the level of statistical accuracy you want to achieve.
If you’d like to book a free consultation and obtain a quote, you can book a time with our sales team here.
We focus on a partnership approach to helping you create the best engagement.
Once you have provided Ethelo with the questions and topics for your engagement, as well as any graphics or media, the fulfillment team will need 5-7 business days to build the first draft of the platform.
Once the initial platform is set up, you will be able to access the administrative side 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.
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.
We work closely with communications staff to avoid duplicating efforts and to help them achieve the best results for your engagement. We also work with them to identify which stakeholders you’ve had trouble reaching in your past engagements.
Are you missing a huge elderly population? Perhaps you’re not hearing from renters in your community, or maybe you need help reaching out to your local Indigenous community members.
We work with your team and consult census data to identify these blind spots, and work forward from there, ensuring everyone in your community has the opportunity to make their voices heard.
We collect 5 types of data on Ethelo:
Survey data: often includes demographic data such as age, gender etc.
Comment data: the comments people make on the Ethelo platform
Vote data: how people scored, ranked and weighted the various options to identify their favourite scenario
Usage data: includes how long people were on the platform, type of device used, how many of the questions they answered, etc.
Personally identifying information: names, emails, etc.
We ensure privacy is protected in various ways:
Transmission of information: We use HTTPS encryption to ensure that information is not captured in its journey from the participant’s device to our server.
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.
Jurisdictional security: All data is hosted in Canada, and comes under the jurisdiction of Canadian law.
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.
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 the Canadian electoral system works). Privacy & security are an utmost concern.
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 or respond to 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 participants’ attention to the Usage Policy or add a ‘how to comment’ section at the beginning of the engagement journey to inform participants.
We work with you to determine what you need from the data and ensure that you have actionable results that have broad support. We can also conduct additional quantitative and qualitative analysis, as well as create custom presentation-ready reports that highlight the most important results and issues.
Other competitors use sentiment analysis to group comments into basic emotions or moods (e.g., positive, neutral, negative).
Ethelo’s more advanced qualitative analysis allows you to surface the meanings and ideas from a large number of comments, without losing the context. For example, this could include what issues are residents positive/negative about and how often certain ideas emerge.
Check out some free engagement resources
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Reaching beyond the usual suspects
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