Do you trust your government?

If you don’t, you’re with 82% of American people. According to the Pew Research Center only 18% of Americans today say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” or “most of the time.”

Even when the government provides services, it’s hard to evaluate their costs and true value.  As political scientist Suzanne Mettler would say, programs are “submerged.” Tax credits, subsidies, and bureaucracy challenge citizens to discern true benefits. That uncertainty reduces trust.

The solution: When citizens learn more about the process of government, the submerged state “surfaces” according to research by Ethan Porter, Ryan Buyell, and Michael Norton (link: here). A clearer view of true costs and benefits generates increased trust. When citizens see the government process of filling in potholes or fixing broken lights, trust goes up 14%. Citizens whose service requests have been filled successfully make 60% more service requests in the future when compared with citizens who did not see those requests.

In a nutshell: Understanding how to improve communities leads to:

  • higher civic participation and
  • more trust in government.

Trust matters in a democracy. That’s why MAGNIFY was founded.

MAGNIFY seeks to:

  • Encourage local citizens to identify local needs
  • Clarify the process by which those needs can be met
  • Identify the appropriate officials who can help meet those needs
  • Provide a forum to connect concerned citizens within a community

Take a look at MAGNIFY’s website to see projects as varied as building a bus shelter or starting a curbside compost program.

Better still, start your own project.

It will make you feel better
— about your government,
— and about yourself.