Is this a new era of civic engagement that will stand the test of time? And how can civic institutions turn this passionate political moment from a fleeting fad into a way of life — one that advances important progressive issues like equality, inclusive economies, and a sustainable world?
We can use the same tricks companies use to win the battle for our attention to transform civic engagement from a hobby to a habit.
People wear badges — sometimes literally, but usually not. These represent self-selected and deeply meaningful ideas about who we are, what we stand for, and why we live the way we do. We adopt these badges — road warrior, foodie, thrill-seeker, car enthusiast — over our lifetimes. They matter to us. We try to live up to them.
If we want to make passionate civic engagement a way of life, we have to make it a badge people want to earn and wear forever. The ‘I voted’ sticker (and the ubiquitous Instagram posts of said sticker) proves this can work. It’s a public display that says, ‘I did my duty.’
Once people are informed, they’re ready to expand their perspective — to engage, discuss, and debate with others. Missing this critical step could lead to short-term activism and long-term burnout. Organizers know that going door-to-door and having real discussions can deepen relationships and trust. Taking time to hear from different perspectives is incredibly important if we are trying to open minds to changing views.
Ultimately, this becomes part of who they are and what they prioritize in life.
Read the full article about sustaining civic engagement by Kristen Grimm and Emily Gardner at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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