Reach Beyond The Usual Suspects

Citizens' Panels

Citizens’ Panels provide a statistically accurate and representative sample of a given community, with that unique community’s demographics in mind. This allows you to overcome communications barriers, in order to inform and get feedback from all of your community’s key stakeholder groups. 

Get the social license to act

What Are 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. 

engage your community

How does it work?

We turn the content from your engagement process into micro-targeted content for sharing on our existing networks, social media channels, and other forms of public outreach and advertising. This is not communications consulting (although we are also available to provide strategic consulting as well, contact us to discuss details).  We coordinate our efforts with those of your local governments communications and engagement teams and deliver our content independently as a third party helping to facilitate the process. We do ongoing engagement across Canada and the United States as well as elsewhere in the world on a variety of issues with different partners.

We solve your engagement challenges


Get Comprehensive, actionable reports that are ready to be shared

Get a best-of-industry report that you can easily present to your stakeholders and your community.

Create an inclusive, two-way dialogue with your community

Citizens' Panels will help you build a mailing list of residents that are looking forward to hearing from you.

Get the social license to act, & find solutions that work for everyone

Citizens' Panels help educate and empower residents. Real-time results build trust and transparency.

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our work inspires Communities

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Schedule a free 1-on-1 Consultation with our team of Engagement Experts

Dive deeper

See what a successful Citizens’ Panel looks like!

How Salt Spring Island Led Climate Engagement Amidst Pandemic

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Salt Spring Island Case Study

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Frequently Asked Questions

Prices depend on the size of your city and the nature of the kind of engagement you want to do. We do an assessment of your unique community, and depending on the level of statistical accuracy you’re looking to achieve, we’ll propose pricing on minimum, medium and maximum sized engagements

If you’d like to book a free consultation and obtain a quote, you can book a time with our sales team here. We’ll be looking forward to hearing from you!

Our Citizens’ Panel campaigns are designed to bring you a high number of diverse local participants, while saving you and your team valuable time and money. That said, our Panels work most effectively when we are well informed regarding the nuances of your unique community. What do people care about most? Who are your key stakeholder groups? Are there special interests or community groups we can draw upon? Are there any particular media sources or influencers that really resound with your residents?

Because you know your community best, we work with you to gather this information. This work can typically be done in a meeting or series of meetings with our team. It should only take an hour or two of your time. After that, you can sit back, relax, and watch as people across your community who you’ve never heard from before share their perspectives!

There are a few key steps in our process of achieving a representative sample: 

  1. Coordinating efforts with your communications staff to identify local community groups, and assess census data to better understand your unique community make up, views, and objectives. 
  2. Create and execute an offline and online marketing campaign specifically micro-targeted towards hard-to-reach community groups, encouraging traditionally under-represented residents to engage. We get as close to a representative sample as possible using these communications strategies. 
  3. After everyone has participated, we then strengthen our representative sample by adjusting the weight of votes based on the demographic data provided by participants. Using the community’s most up-to-date census data, we reweight results so that important community subgroups are being represented proportionally. 

In this way, our engagements are able to reflect a real representative sample, ensuring the results show your community’s true values.

In short, yes. Because we tailor our outreach specifically to resound with your unique community about the unique issues affecting them, we have found time and again that using the right messaging, in the right place, at the right time produces results. Our specialty is finding intersecting points of interest within your particular engagement that compel your hard-to-reach groups to participate. Whether you’re consulting on land use planning, the annual budget,  climate action, or a specific bylaw, let us do the legwork – trust us, we can handle it.

Participedia defines a Citizens’ Panel as “a non-compulsory public jury used to provide policy advice to public and elected officials.” This terminology is well known across Europe, and is gaining popularity in North America. Beyond simply recruiting a random group of citizen advisors, it is associated with special care being taken to engage participants reflective of the proportional demographic makeup of a community. 

A typical Citizens’ Panel contains between 14-54 residents. Ethelo moves beyond this, striving to attain statistical representation of community beliefs by engaging a statistically significant proportion of your community. In this way, we’re able to say with confidence that the results of your engagement are truly reflective of your entire community’s views.

Yes. Unfortunately, we do not offer Citizens’ Panels as a stand-alone service. Citizens’ Panels must be purchased in tandem with an Ethelo engagement.

The Ethelo platform is built with equity and fairness in mind. A significant portion of the work we do assessing participant responses throughout the survey and evaluating which groups remain under-represented are only clear on our platform. We’re also able to weed out suspicious looking votes, and adjust the influence of each demographic subgroup to reflect community census data on the platform. Our team requires the support, pre-analysis and control we can only have with the Ethelo platform, hence why we’re unable to offer this service without a corresponding Ethelo engagement.

In communities with communications staff, we make sure to work with them, to avoid duplicating efforts – after all, your Citizens’ Panel participant number includes only those who come in above and beyond the folks your communications team is able to recruit. We also work with your communications team 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.

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