What is Every Voice Engaged?

A unique, game changing online deliberation platform for making better, more audacious decisions together, at scale.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis and deepening polarization, communities continue to face the kind of wicked problems that require citizens to work together and with their elected officials. These problems are not easily fixable, but are deep problems that require people to galvanize across geographies, socioeconomic status, politics, and education to make deliberative choices and solutions together.

Developing practical, engaging, and simple civic technology connects citizens and officials together at scale, even when public health directives and official policy prevent meeting in person, is a necessity.

Lobby of the Common Ground for Action forum
All deliberation participants start their deliberative experience here in the deliberative forum lobby.
Rating actions and drawbacks for each option is key to the deliberative process in a CGA forum.
Individuals rating various actions and drawbacks for each option  – whether they think we should do actions and if they can live with the drawbacks is key to the deliberative process in a forum.

Forums are 2-hour synchronous, human facilitated, deep, small-group deliberations in a media rich, chat-based platform.

The software allows thousands of people to gather in small group forums of 8-12 to make choices together about what we should do to address deep, wicked problems. Each forum is about two hours long and has a live, human moderator to pose in real time responsive questions, keep the conversation on track, and help the group deliberate. The structure utilizes a non-partisan issue guide that frames the kinds of actions and drawbacks people must reckon with to address wicked issues. Participants mainly use the integrated chat feature and will soon be able to deliberate using the embedded audio and video component. Forums are built based on real-world empirical research in effective deliberative forum design.


A visual, engaging way to allow people to have meaningful, productive online conversations about controversial issues.

Some online, social media-based platforms are decidedly non-deliberative and uncivil while the tools designed for collaborative, educational, or conversational purposes can fail to get participants weighing choices and making decisions together.  The visuals in our software show how each small deliberative group is thinking about issues – where there is common ground to act with a large degree of consensus, where there are questions and conflicting views still, and what ways forward are not supported by the group. When deliberating and participants change their mind, they can register their opinion change in real time and the group’s common ground visual changes too, reflecting the will of the group to act. Every Voice Engaged Foundation has the only deliberative software with these features, making it the easiest software for citizens, elected officials, and experts to use when communities need to make tough decisions. 

Listen to this podcast interview with Dr. Kara Dillard, an expert online deliberation facilitator on how CGA works, the strengths and challenges of the platform, and how to leverage the software into meaningful change, at scale.

Listen to Dr. Kara Dillard, professor of communication studies and CGA moderator, talk about how CGA encourages deliberation.
Listen to a podcast episode from the popular Facilitating Public Deliberations about how Every Voice Engaged’s software works.

Every Voice Engaged Foundation’s Common Ground for Action has the potential to transform the lives of citizens while encouraging more engagement in the civic-political life of their neighborhoods and communities. We’re continually working on building new features, including making the software more accessible to diverse audiences including non-English first language speakers, improving the quality of participation and deliberation, and to improve the reflection and reporting across large numbers of forums. Years of citizens using our software to deliberate on issues like the opioid crisis, health care, and immigration shows that participants are less polarized and more willing to see the “other side” after participating, to see the government and their elected officials as trustworthy, and find value in civic participation. Research, civic organizations, foundations, and major universities use the software, making it an established, highly credible online deliberation  platform.