According to a recent Governing article, “If Civic Engagement Is Boring, You're Probably Doing It Wrong,” civic engagement is most effective when it is . . . engaging!

In the article, Ron Littler, former mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, uses a venture he headed while in office in 1986 as an example of successful civic engagement. Littler, along with a nonprofit organization called Chattanooga Venture, initiated Vision 2000, an ambitious revitalization campaign, in hopes of revamping the tired industrial city. Littler explains that the campaign was successful because it kept citizens engaged with high-energy coffee-fueled meetings and visionary guest speakers. The former mayor also mentions that the campaign always made sure to keep the community informed throughout every part of the process by celebrating small victories along the way.

Civic engagement is a vital part of any community because, when done properly, it can result in a positive exchange that helps local governments and their residents build a trusting relationship.

For more information about civic engagement and how it can help your community, take a look at the Knowledge Network resources below!

  1. “Civic Engagement… One Size Doesn’t Fit All!”, a presentation given at the 99th Annual Conference, discusses different ways to customize civic engagement to fit the needs of different communities.
  2. Learn why both community residents and local government officials tend to avoid civic engagement and how to fix this problem in this webinar summary. Click here to purchase a download of the entire webinar.
  3. This PM article challenges managers to think differently and expand efforts to truly engage with community members.
  4. This case study reveals that online civic engagement can increase public trust in government!

How has civic engagement helped your community? Share your stories below.

Jordyn Moore

Knowledge Network Intern


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