Many civic tech projects begin as volunteer efforts. Helping out, whether or not you can code, is a good way to get to know others in the community and contribute to meaningful work.
Platforms that coordinate volunteer effort, including responses to natural disasters and pandemics as well as contributions to civic tech projects confronting systemic societal issues. Check out the opportunities on these platforms to get engaged.
Civic technologists can immediately contribute to this project in a variety of meaningful ways.
As a socially-organized species, humans have long provided various forms of formal and informal aid to one another in times of crisis. Our empathy is often triggered by the suffering of others — particularly others with whom we identify in some way. That empathy can then drive a wide range of pro-social behavior to help others in need. In Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, Russian scientist Peter Kropotkin critiques capitalist and feudal systems for defining human order through competition alone despite bountiful evidence of cooperation in the face of a hostile natural environment. Kropotkin does not deny that competition occurs in the face of limited resources, but argues that our natural sociable inclinations towards cooperation and mutual support are under-served by focusing exclusively on the self-interested individual. Socially-oriented people have taken advantage of the internet’s coordination power to organize mutual aid efforts all over the world.
If you’re looking for a paid position, check out our civic tech job boards.
If you’re in the Seattle area, we recommend checking out the tech volunteering opportunities at Democracy Lab.