Since 1995, AmericaSpeaks has convened large-scale citizen engagement initiatives to provide citizens with a voice on some of the most important policy decisions that impact their lives. AmericaSpeaks designs strategies that are intended to impact the individuals who participate as well as on the policies and plans on which people come together to deliberate. Research and evaluation of our initiatives have demonstrated our success on both of these fronts. Highlights of this independent research are offered below.
The experience of participating in a 21st Century Town Meeting® has had a demonstrated impact on the individual citizens who participate. Independent evaluations of our work have shown that citizens gain an appreciation of other points of view, learn new information, change their opinions, increase trust and a personal sense of efficacy, and change personal behavior.
AmericaSpeaks’ citizen engagement strategies are designed to shape critical plans and policies by bringing together large, highly diverse groups of citizens in informed deliberations that are directly linked to policy making. Our experience has shown that well-designed public processes can help public priorities to impact the reallocation of public funds and resources, shifts in public policy, the shaping of official plans, and the creation of community agendas that are driven by multi-sector implementation bodies.