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.