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Civic Life Today: The State of Global Civic Engagement

April 7, 2022

In May 2020, Points of Light released its first piece of research on the state of American civic engagement. This year, we're excited to have expanded our report to a global scope. This report evaluated markets in Brazil, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. It helps us understand similarities and differences in engagement around the world and begin a conversation about what we can learn from each other.The civic actions that dominated around the world were a mix of traditional and non-traditional engagement pathways, demonstrating people's desire to engage in whatever way they could as COVID-19 affected more traditional ways of engagement. Globally, the top three civic actions taken, as defi ned by Points of Light's Civic Circle, were listening and learning, using your voice and volunteering. When we added the "Listen & Learn" element to Points of Light's Civic Circle, we did so because we believe the basis of every civic action should be rooted in a deep understanding of the issue. Taking action without listening and learning to the affected communities can do deep harm, while taking action after listening and learning can make your actions more effective.Though the growth around listening and learning is promising, this report also shows that volunteering is still among the most important civic activities, with 48% of global respondents volunteering by intentionally helping someone within the last 30 days. Markets like Brazil and India in particular show continued energy around and commitment to volunteering. This data confi rms our observations from Points of Light's Global Network affi liates and other global convenings that still position volunteering as a cornerstone of civic engagement.Also notable in this report is the mandate for companies to lead when it comes to social issues in the world today. 90% of respondents in Brazil and 95% of respondents in India expect companies to "do something related to a social issue." Those numbers are essentially representative of the entire population. This expectation cannot be ignored. But this leadership must be authenticated by companies looking internally and ensuring corporate policies and practices are aligned with external messaging and initiatives. 

Civic Life Today: The State of Brazilian Civic Engagement

April 7, 2022

The first two years of the pandemic were not easy for any country, let alone Brazil. The Brazilian government's delay in responding to the health challenges turned the country's pandemic experience into an even more complex political moment. During this time, we learned that the collective action of people in moments of crisis is critical, and this report validates that notion.This report shows that Brazilians are taking action in the causes they care about. Education became one of the most pressing issues because the pandemic intensified pre-existing challenges. Children didn't have the tools to access virtual learning, and many of them were balancing studies with caregiving or household responsibilities. The educational consequences were enormous — at the end of 2021, we saw a 171% surge in school evasion. Atados, Points of Light's affiliate in Brazil, has a platform that connects volunteers with NGOs. On our website, education was the most searched cause, over three times higher than interest in other cause areas.Aside from education, the country has seen exacerbated challenges in tackling poverty, hunger, environmental preservation and climate change. Even before the pandemic, Brazilians felt some level of government neglect addressing these challenges. Maybe because of that, other institutions — religious organizations, NGOs and companies — have become critical in addressing social and environmental issues in the country. This research particularly calls out companies, with 90% of respondents in Brazil believing that companies "should do something related to a social issue." Companies shouldn't ignore this mandate from employees, consumers and other everyday people. If Brazilians are demanding social and environmental change, these can be the institutions with the power to make that happen.

Civic Life Today: The State of U.S. Civic Engagement

April 7, 2022

In May 2020, when the first wave of the pandemic was taking hold of the world, Points of Light began an annual research series to study the state of civic engagement in the United States. We were at the beginning of a shared global experience that we are still feeling the effects of two years later.Americans have been challenged, but in these challenges, we have seen inspiring stories of individuals acting to support the causes and communities that they care about. If we hope to move forward together, it is this positive energy, this light, that we must capture. To do so, civic engagement must be at the center of our efforts and this report helps us understand more about everyday Americans' attitudes, behaviors and barriers around engagement. One thing that really stood out to us is that people are taking the time to listen and learn about the issues they care about. When we added the "Listen & Learn" element to Points of Light's Civic Circle, we did so because we believe the basis of every civic action should be rooted in a deep understanding of the issue. Taking action without listening and learning to the affected communities can do deep harm and make your actions less effective. "Listen and learn" was the top civic action taken in the United States. 

Civic Life Today: The State of Indian Civic Engagement

April 7, 2022

The challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic rippled throughout the world, and India was uniquely and severely impacted. A large population, dense urban centres, large-scale migration, pre-existing social and economic disparities, less-than-adequate medical infrastructure and government decision-making led to a gradually worsening pandemic environment that, at one point, became the epicenter of rising infections.Despite these conditions, this report shows a population that is highly civically active. We witnessed this through iVolunteer's COVID relief campaigns powered by individuals across the socio-economic strata:Volunteers helped distribute 1 million+ ration kits in remote villages and serve 200,000+ meals to urban poor and front-end medical staff.People donated Rs 20,000,000 to families who had lost basic income.Support from both inside and outside of India sourced and distributed 75,000 pieces of safety and medical equipment.Thousands helped underprivileged children transition to virtual education by recording books, creating worksheets and conducting telephonic sessions while also supporting critical services in their neighborhoods.

Civic Life Today: The State of U.K. Civic Engagement

April 7, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all our lives and had a profound effect on what it means to engage civically. Through the lens of Points of Light's Civic Circle, this report highlights engagement trends in the U.K. today and quantifies how people support and give their time to the causes they care about. 

Civic Life Today: A Millennial Perspective

September 1, 2021

In 2021, Points of Light focused its research on the civic engagement of millennials. This report, titled "Civic Life Today: A Millennial Perspective,"  shares how a concentration of extraordinary experiences in a brief period of time influenced the civic involvement of the country's largest generation in history.

Civic Life Today: A Look at American Civic Engagement Amid a Global Pandemic

October 7, 2020

In May 2020, Points of Light commissioned a unique research study from Hart Research to understand how to catalyze civic engagement in 2020 and beyond. The survey dove deep into Americans' behaviors, attitudes and motivations for civic engagement.