Making civic engagement fun, easy and social.

In the early days of American farming, most farmers couldn’t assemble a barn themselves. Building a barn took more labor and expense than one family could muster, but having a barn was critical for a farmer to keep animals and grains safe. To solve this problem, farming communities engaged in barn raising: members of the community came together to help each other build their barns. They relied on each other for help, knowing that by working together all farms would be better off.

Our success stories at Magnify all come from barn raising. Instead of building a barn, though, we are building stronger neighborhood, community and government. Here is an example: Jamie asked Kaldi’s Coffee to start composting their coffee grounds. She rallied her network to join her project. Before we knew it, Kathleen from Kaldi’s agreed — and she started her own project, asking customers to come help collect the grounds she was now accumulating in the coffee ground “free compost” bucket. Kathleen shared her project with her network — and one local St Louis farmer from Here We Grow Foods was able to add the grounds to his compost. It turned out that Jamie, Kathleen, Kaldi’s and Here we Grow Foods could all raise each other’s barns (along with their project teammates). Whether it’s Pi Pizzeria helping Josh make it easier to change his baby’s diaper or volunteers helping staff the Missouri Civics Project candidate debates, at Magnify we are seeing people come together to successfully complete projects.

The next time you drive across the country and see a big red barn standing tall and sturdy in a field, think about community and the tremendous capacity we have to help each other build better lives together. You have a good idea for how to make your community better. Your neighbors have ideas too — and they’ve posted some of them on Magnify. If you can work together, you can build that barn.

Join us.  Magnify Your Voice.

The Pew Research Center recently released a new study providing some evidence that participation in the 2018 primary elections appears to be higher than it was in the last midterm U.S. federal election, back in 2014.  This indicates that American voters are interested and engaged in the 2018 elections, in particular on the Democratic side.

The study, “Turnout in this year’s U.S. House primaries is up, especially on the Democratic side”, looks at turnout across the nation, in primary elections that have been held so far this year.  Here’s the key graph from the Pew study.


As you can see, the Pew analysis shows that voter participation in primaries so far in 2018 has been substantially greater in U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and state Governor, primary elections relative to 2018.  While turnout is up for voters from both parties, the increases in turnout between 2014 and 2018 look a bit greater among Democratic voters than among Republican voters.

Seeing increased voter participation, in particular in a U.S. midterm election, is a good thing — it indicates that among registered voters that there is likely more interest in the election, and more enthusiasm about the electoral process.  We like seeing more people are getting involved in civic affairs, in particular the important act of voting.

If these trends continue, we think that Magnify offers a great way for you (or your organization) to take advantage of increased interest, enthusiasm, and engagement, in civic affairs.  Whether your issue or project is national in scope, or whether it a project that involves your neighbors along your street, Magnify gives you a means to connect with and to organize your community to get things done.

Try Magnify today — lets work together to build stronger communities and make progress getting problems in our neighborhoods, cities, and nation, resolved.  We can do it by connecting with our communities, and getting their help in solving these problems.  If as part of that process, we also strengthen civic enthusiasm and  community engagement among our friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues at work, all the better.

There’s a great deal of emerging research that shows how communities are using technology to build stronger connections between citizens and residents, and to better engage citizens and residents in solving local problems.

A great example of this research is a report from the National League of Cities and the Knight Foundation, “Bright Spots in Community Engagement.”  This study looks at what 14 different communities are doing to build a more engaged citizenry.  One of the key lessons from the report notes that “We learned, too, that the more networks and representatives from all facets of the community are invited to the mix, the greater the benefits to community well-being. Drawing a larger and more diverse range of engaged citizens into community participation requires new tools and strategies, particularly those that tap the power of technology, to have the transformative impact we document in this report.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Community organizing and empowerment, from a traditional approach, is difficult — door-to-door appeals are costly to implement, and can be inefficient in today’s world where many families are not home in the evenings and on weekends.  It’s hard today to find ways to get community members to attend meetings, as well.

Technologies like Magnify can help — for organizers, coordinating people to help solve community problems can be conducted 24/7, and at very low cost.  For citizens and residents, they can participate in engagement efforts at a time (and place) that is convenient for them, and they can see how their participation helps to resolve community problems.





Recently Pew Research Center conducted survey research on how Americans use social media for civic engagement.  Not too surprisingly, Pew found that over half of Americans surveyed had taken part in some type of civic activity on social media in the past year.

Roughly half of Americans have been civically active on social media in the past year

What’s really interesting to us here at Magnify about these data is that they indicate that of the Americans who are using social media for civic activity, 34% had taken part in a group that shares an interest in an issue or cause, 32% had encouraged others to take action on issues important to them, and 19% had looked up information on local protests/rallies.

Adding those up we find that 85% of Americans who use social media for civic action are engaging with platforms and applications like Magnify.

In an era when social and political activism are of increasing interest to many Americans, it’s important to note that a majority of Americans are taking advantage of social media to get engaged — and that they are using tools like Magnify to work with their family, friends, and neighbors to accomplish positive change.

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to try Magnify, we know that you’ll find some interesting projects to get engaged in, and you may find that it’s a tool that you can use to get some things accomplished in your neighborhood or city.

We’d like to tell you a little bit about Magnify, a new action network for local projects in St Louis and beyond. It’s free to use and relies on the frontier of research in behavioral social science to help get your neighborhood projects done.

Here is how Magnify works:

  1. You choose something you care about. It can be big or small. Here are a couple examples: is there a pothole that needs filling? a park that needs a new playground? updated parking regulations needed near your home or favorite restaurant? does your neighborhood want curbside compost? would you benefit from adding a changing station in a local restaurant bathroom? would you like to organize a neighborhood parade?
  2. You make the project and then send it to your friends. You tell your target official your idea. Your friends do it too — and Magnify gives you a way to talk to your team and to know who has already reached out and who hasn’t yet.
  3. We try to match your project to people who have the same concern. They tell your target official too.
  4. Now your voice is louder. A lot louder. Louder because your friends and your community have spoken together.
  5. Success! You (might) get what you want! When your team grows large enough, we will work with you to connect with your target official.
  6. You have done everything you can to make your neighborhood, your community, better.
  7. You have more power than you think and a team of engaged voices can make a big difference.

Neighborhood, community, and a responsible civic life: this is what the Magnify community cares about. We make civic activism fun, easy and social. Join us today!