mySociety's more recent mission has been to simplify and internationalise its code to make it easier for people all over the world to run citizen-empowering websites. Additionally, through the Poplus project, it hopes to encourage others to share open source code that will minimise the amount of duplication in civic tech coding.
Like many non-profits, mySociety sustains itself with a mixture of grant funding and commercial work, providing software and development services to local government and other organisations.
mySociety was founded by Tom Steinberg in September 2003, and started activity after receiving a £250,000 grant in September 2004. Steinberg says that it was inspired by a collaboration with his then-flatmate James Crabtree which spawned Crabtree's article "Civic hacking: a new agenda for e-democracy".
In March 2015, Steinberg announced his decision to stand down as the director of mySociety. In July of that year, Mark Cridge became the organisation's new CEO.
WriteToThem is a website which allows UK citizens to contact their elected representatives. Users do not need to know their representatives’ names: instead, using the mySociety software MapIt, the site matches their postcode to its various constituency boundaries, before displaying elected representatives at all levels of UK government from local councillors to MEPs. Users can send messages to them from the site; responses are then sent directly to the user's email address.
Pombola is free open source software for running a parliamentary monitoring website inspired by TheyWorkForYou.
Poplus encourages the development of free, open source civic 'blocks' of software, which it terms 'Components'. These are intended to save time for anyone making one of the classic civic tech tools for parliamentary monitoring, accountability, transparency, et cetera.
In 2014 Nominet awarded Poplus a place in the Nominet Trust 100
The following Components were developed by mySociety. Those developed by other organisations may be seen on the Poplus website.
WriteIt: software for running a site that enables users to write to politicians, in public or private.
MapIt: software for matching a geographical point with its legislative boundaries. MapIt underlies several mySociety websites such as FixMyStreet and WriteToThem, where it allows for a user to input a postcode and be matched to the correct authority or representative.
EveryPolitician: Storing and sharing data on every politician in the world, in structured open data
Pledgebank: Allowed users to make pledges of the format: "I will do x if y number of people agree to do the same".
HassleMe: a website that sends reminders sporadically, now run independently of mySociety
HearFromYourMP: a site encouraging MPs to email their constituents, closed May 2015
FixMyTransport: a site, in the model of FixMyStreet for contacting any transport operator in Britain about problems with public transport. Correspondence was published online. The site ran from 2011 to 2015
ScenicOrNot: a gamification-powered site which invites users to rate photographs according to their ‘scenicness’. The results fed into Mapumental. In 2015 ScenicOrNot was passed over to the Warwick Business School where it is being used to track the correlation between health and the beauty of one's surroundings
GroupsNearYou: a map-based application that enabled users to find local community groups in their local area.