EngagementHQ vs. CitizenLab

Which one of two leading community engagement platforms is right for you?

Disclaimer: This article has been written by CitizenLab based on publicly available information on the web together with client and industry expert interviews. For a comprehensive review of community engagement platforms by an independent third party, please visit PeoplePowered's latest platform rankings here.

While there are only a handful of comprehensive community engagement platforms on the market, finding software that is tailored to the unique needs and requirements of each city can be challenging. With detailed technical aspects and different names for identical features, it can be difficult to determine which platform can best serve the needs of your particular community and ensure meaningful engagement with residents and stakeholders alike. In this article, we will compare two of the leading community engagement software platforms in the US - EngagementHQ by Granicus (formerly Bang the Table) and CitizenLab - to help you make an informed decision and find the solution that best fits your organization's needs.


Engagement HQ
(the platform behind Bang the Table)

was founded in Australia in 2007 with a focus on providing a comprehensive community engagement platform for municipalities. Since its inception, the platform has expanded its reach into other English-speaking markets such as the US, UK, and Canada, offering a suite of tools to facilitate effective engagement for different communities. In 2021, Bang the Table was acquired by Granicus, one of the largest US corporations providing software and service solutions to governments, and became part of their suite of digital government tools.


is a B-Corp, founder-led community engagement software provider that was founded in Brussels, Belgium in 2015. The company was created with the goal of providing cities and organizations with a simple and effective way to engage with their communities and solicit feedback from residents, all in one place. Since its inception, CitizenLab has worked with more than 400 municipalities in over 20 countries, with a primary focus on the US, UK, Dutch, Belgian, French, and German markets. CitizenLab's global experience has allowed it to take learnings from one corner of the world and apply them in another.


Given that both CitizenLab and EngagementHQ are frontrunners in the industry, they have both evolved to provide local governments with a range of engagement options across the participation ladder. Both companies allow you to customize your engagement sites, send out newsletters to your community, show project timelines, conduct polls and surveys, use option analysis and mapping features, and ask your community to share open ideas on the platform.

In addition to these features, the CitizenLab platform allows you to conduct participatory budgeting activities using our unique shopping cart system for residents to allocate “funds” to specific proposals as well as live remote workshops. CitizenLab is also able to provide user-friendly and easy-to-set-up multi-language support, regardless of how many languages your community speaks.

Service Comparison

Both companies provide you with a level of onboarding support. With CitizenLab, you will get a  dedicated Government Success manager who will only have a maximum of 50 clients on their portfolio at any given time, which is lower than the industry standard. With fewer clients to manage, you will receive one-to-one attention and quick response rates to questions and needs that you might have.

In addition to the basic support levels, both companies provide paid service packages that can be purchased during the course of your contract. At CitizenLab, our standard onboarding provides an in-depth overview of how to do everything from setting up to communicating your new engagement platform and projects.

At any point during your engagement process, if you or your team simply no longer has additional bandwidth, we have developed four specific packages to help with everything from platform design to how to best market your platform to your community. Below is a list of our core packages:

  • Platform design package: to help create a strong and clean visual identity for your platform
  • Operational support package: to help configure registration, survey, and/or data sets in the platform
  • Communications package: to develop a communication strategy and visuals to maximize the reach of your platform
  • Project set-up package: delivers a complete project set-up based on the scope and priorities of project needs

To allow for more peer exchange and learning, CitizenLab has also developed both the CitizenLab Academy (an online self-learning platform) and the community platform, a space where CitizenLab clients can engage with one another to share community engagement and platform best practices. This includes but is not limited to providing product feedback, and submitting ideas for the CitizenLab product roadmap on an ongoing basis. Via our community platform, we are able to keep a strong pulse on the latest needs of our clients, and our nimble team moves quickly to respond, ensuring that every member of the CitizenLab community feels heard.


Both CitizenLab and EngagementHQ are powerful and reliable tools that can help cities and organizations scale their community engagement efforts. Ultimately, the choice of which platform to use depends on what is most important for your city.

While there are negligible differences in features and capabilities between the two platforms, what sets them apart is your organizational fit with the companies behind them. EngagementHQ is part of Granicus, a large institution that offers integrations with the rest of its products. On the other hand, CitizenLab is a small and nimble organization that can provide personalized support to your team that likely has already stretched-thin bandwidth. With our user-friendly platform design and expert service team, you can even have a say in our product roadmap!

CitizenLab is a certified B-Corp organization committed to using business as a force for good. As a founder-owned company, it emphasizes providing you with personalized support through our Government Success Managers who have experience in the public sector.

Ultimately, CitizenLab is known for its commitment to diversity and global reach, and our mission is to make democracy more participatory, responsive, and inclusive.

500+ local governments trust CitizenLab with their community engagement projects

With CitizenLab, governments have seen:


of their team engage more often with their residents, and on more topics.


in resident engagement, including from underheard groups.


less time spent on analysis and reporting, allowing for more continuous engagement.

Don't just take our word for it.

Here’s what our community partners have to say:


"The CitizenLab team worked with us to make the ‘shopping basket’ system more intuitive. We really appreciate CitizenLab’s openness and swift response to product feedback."

Amelie Pollet,
Participatory Democracy Coordinator at London Borough of Newham (UK)

"A lot of times in local government everyone is excited about a new product but not everyone is trained to know and engage with the new initiative. The Government Success Manager from CitizenLab  really helped us to have people engaged across departments to make sure this program is successful.”

Milzy Carrasco
Director of Neighborhood Engagement, City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania (USA)

“We presented the platform to our leadership team, and they absolutely lost their minds. They are so pumped for the site and the work it will enable us to do for the Comp Plan. Your team deserves a huge thank you for being so incredibly responsive and flexible and working with us to stand our platform up on such a short timeline. We really appreciate it!”

City of Seattle
Office of Planning & Community Development (WA, USA)

“In addition to increasing the quantity of participants, we were able to improve the quality of our community conversations by answering direct questions and responding to concerns promptly, before misinformation and rumor mills could overtake the dialogue.”

Chelsey Aprill
Communication Manager, City of Allen

" With our digital community engagement platform, we have the opportunity for real-time feedback that meets the needs of the community – they can engage whenever it works for them, in multiple ways, because the platform is always up and running. "

Crandall O. Jones
Municipal Administrator of the Municipality of Norristown, Pennsylvania (USA)

"I am immensely pleased that so many people made their voices heard and shared their ideas with us. The numerous positive ideas strengthen our policy and ensure that we can set priorities that reflect reality. The user-friendly and well-arranged platform that CitizenLab has certainly contributed to the success of our participation initiative.”

Mohamed Ridouani
Mayor, City of Leuven (Belgium)

“When you drill down into the functionality you see that CitizenLab is more flexible, visually appealing, and user-friendly... I feel the way CitizenLab’s platform is set up fosters a positive participation environment [and] the fact that the back office is so easy to use has been a massive bonus because it doesn’t scare anyone away, no matter their comfort level with technology.”

Jennifer Maclean
Digital Services Team Leader (Stirling, UK)