COVID-19: Resources for Individuals and Governments

As the world grapples with how to respond to this growing pandemic, individuals and organizations are racing to work together and combat the impact of COVID-19 and its further spread. We are inspired by the stories of people supporting each other and engaging with their neighbors, and how local governments are leading their communities despite the initial slow response on the federal level to the spread of the virus.

“The public’s response to the coronavirus will stand as a remarkable moment of national mobilization.” wrote Garrett M. Graff in his recent article in The Atlantic, “What Americans Are Doing Now Is Beautiful.”

This is a unique moment for this country and for the world. Never before has the world had to deal with a global crisis of this nature, and the civic infrastructures in many communities are revealing large gaps or proving to be disfunctional.

Yet there are so many stories of hope and resiliency. Organizations across all sectors have been sharing experiences and tools, and scrambling to innovate creative new resources in response to COVID-19. There are already many great digital repositories for information regarding the coronavirus and we want to highlight a few resources that may be especially useful. 


Civic Duty

  • Ballotpedia: “Resources for citizens dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, 2020” for fact-driven information on how the COVID-19 pandemic is shaping American politics, government, and policy.
  • AllSides: balanced news coverage across the politics spectrum
  • The Fulcrum: news on American democracy and stories of civic engagement in action

The #WeavingCommunity During Crisis national campaign is promoting conversation and connection amidst fear and isolation. Learn more about the ways people are continuing to connect and what events are going on. There is a growing collection of inspirational stories of community resiliency and mutual support, which you can contribute to here

Resources for Local Governments

Local governments across the country have been leading the way in addressing this coronavirus crisis and struggling to respond during an unprecedented crisis. Below are several resources that can be a vast source of information related to government at the local, state, and federal level. 

Digital Engagement Platforms

Due to current physical distancing measures, many are using virtual spaces to engage with each other. Below are a few platforms to hold space to engage with other people, depending on what the goal of engagement is. Here are a few that we encourage you to look into:

  • Bang the Table: created EngagementHQ, a digital community engagement platform that facilitates deliberative decision-making.
  • MetroQuest: an online public engagement platform for urban and transportation planning.
  • Balancing Act: created by Engaged Public, is an online tool for community members to engage on a budget process through simulation and a taxpayer receipt app.
  • Common Ground for Action: created by the National Issues Forums Institute, is an online platform for non-partisan and moderated, deliberative forums which allow participants to exchange views with others about important issues facing the country.

Conversation Tools

There are currently orders in countries throughout the world for people to “stay at home” in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has forced many to be socially isolated. Conversation helps us feel more connected and nourishes that very human need to thrive, whether it be via digital technology or in-person. Here are several tools to help foster dialogues with many more resources linked just below. 

Many organizations are dedicated to fostering dialogue; the following provide tools/resources for holding and hosting conversations: Essential Partners, Everyday Democracy, Ben Franklin Circles, Make America Dinner Again, Civic Dinner, Jefferson Dinner, Smart Conversations, Weave, National Conversation Project, American Dialogue Project, Better Angels Red/Blue workshops, Collaborative Truth-Seeking, Free Listening, Mismatch, On Being Civil Conversations Project, On the Table, OpenMind Platform, People’s Supper, Sacred Discourse, Table Talk

Market Resources from ICMA-RC

Additional COVID-19 Resource Lists

Many organizations have been developing roundup-style lists of tools, articles, and additional resources. Below are some of the most robust we’ve found so far, in case you would like to explore further.

  • National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation: compiled from the dialogue and deliberation network; great for more on digital engagement platforms, conversation tools, and related events.
  • Bridge Alliance: compiled from Bridge Alliance members working in civic engagement and political reform sectors; lots of articles and cross-sector representation.
  • Open Space & Gather Community: compiled by Open Space practitioners and the Gather community of engaged journalism; excellent best practices and tools for facilitating online conversations and digital meeting tips.
  • Coronavirus Tech Handbook: more general resources; international and open source doc started by Newspeak House.

General COVID-19 Information for Individuals

Information on COVID-19 can be found in these links below and throughout the resources shared above. We encourage you to explore these resources. 

Resources for Seniors

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