Giving Compass' Take:

• Kristen Cambell, writing for GrantCraft by Candid, discusses how funders can consider taking an active role in democracy through civic engagement and explains what that looks like. 

• How are donors ensuring civic participation in their local communities? 

• Read more about making civic engagement efforts work. 

As funders examine the most effective means to heal the nation’s civic fabric, many of them have found their way to square one: meaningfully engaging citizenry in America’s democratic process. As far as first steps go, we couldn’t agree more. But civic engagement is a multifaceted, amorphous idea--a field with as many definitions as diverse participants. And while many funders are considering investing in civic engagement for the first time, even experienced funders are finding themselves asking: what does civic engagement really look like? How might it relate to my work? And, how do I get started?

We begin by offering our working definition of civic engagement, which takes a wide-angle lens on the vast spectrum of activities our field encompasses. For us, civic engagement is “the process of helping people be active participants in building and strengthening their communities, whether you define “community” as a place or a shared identity or interest.”

This definition comprises the spectrum of ways people can participate in self-governance: from interactions with government to voluntary associations and everything in between.

Associated with this work as well is a core set of values, such as community, trust, transparency, and participation. There is also power in the pragmatic approaches civic engagement can foster, which have the ability to bridge many of the deep fractures that have brought us to this crucial moment.

Read the full article about civic engagement by Kristen Cambell at GrantCraft by Candid.