What is Civic Engagement?

Oct 20, 2022

At Points of Light, we believe we’re on the cusp of a new era, one we call the Civic Century – an age when people become the driving force that transforms our world. We believe when future generations look back on this time, they will see it as an era of sustained and meaningful civic engagement. But what is civic engagement?

Answering the Question: “What is Civic Engagement?”

Simply put, civic engagement is change led by the power of people. In this modern era, it isn’t as always as simple as individuals volunteering their time and effort to advocate for the changes they wish to see in the world. Today’s generations engage in a variety of ways – from how they spend their dollars with socially responsible companies to how they use their voices on social media. People are eager to understand, identify and engage in the full scope of civic life.

That’s why we created the Points of Light Civic Circle, a framework designed to help individuals and organizations lead, lend support and take action for causes they care about. The nine elements of the Points of Light Civic Circle demonstrate the many ways people can become more civically engaged, whether it be their career calling, making an informed donation to a cause or taking a small action taken in the workplace.

Here are some articles on civic engagement you can read through for more information. And be sure to check out our digital magazine, Civic Life Today, for deeper dives into each of these elements, including interviews, supporting resources and more.

Listening and Learning to Foster Equity in Volunteerism

Karmit Bulman, Esq., executive director of the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA), talks us through listening and learning to build equity in volunteerism and providing services. We discuss MAVA’s recent initiatives and the important work they are doing as an organization to listen and learn.

Helping Communities Through Voter Engagement

Voting is one of the key ways communities can advocate for themselves and an important part of participating in a democracy. But since 501(c)(3) charitable organizations are limited in what they can legally do during elections, we published some guidelines on how to help your community members activate to vote and build accessibility and equity among all voters.

How to Leverage People’s Purchase Power to Move Your Mission Forward

Have you considered the collective purchase power of your volunteers? The truth is that the way your volunteers spend their dollars and consume their goods can have a lasting impact on the communities you serve – as well as the world at large. In this article, we share three ways you can help activate the purchasing power of your volunteers in ways that serve the very causes your organization is addressing each day.

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.