Bridging Divides with PACE’s Civic Language Perception Project

  • 16,000 Pages of Data

  • 1 Interactive Dashboard to Decipher it All

Partnership with PACE

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) and Citizen Data joined forces in early 2022 to research American attitudes toward the language used by civic groups.

According to Amy McIsaac, Managing Director for Learning and Experimentation at PACE, “civic language is not an area that has traditionally received much attention or resourcing, and yet, we consistently hear it raised as a core challenge for anyone working in the civic field.”

Citizen Data’s customizable research tools, and experience and expertise in the democracy realm, made us the ideal strategic partner for the job.

The results were a suite of actionable insights delivered via a bespoke, user-friendly dashboard product, allowing for coordination across the pro-democracy space.

The Opportunity to Work More Inclusively, Effectively, and Constructively

PACE is a member-centric philanthropic laboratory for funders seeking to maximize their impact on democracy and civic life in the United States.

One issue that became apparent to them from their work, no one ever stopped to ask what Americans think democracy is or to see if the way the space talks about it even resonates with voters.

PACE set out to do two things:

  1. Find the best language to communicate with; and
  2. Get this information into the hands of key groups

“PACE’s goal was to contribute data and analysis that would spark discussion, whether that be agreement, disagreement, and/or other perspectives to contribute to an ongoing dialogue about civic language.” – Amy McIsaac, Managing Director for Learning and Experimentation at PACE

Why PACE Chose Citizen Data

Citizen’s unique position in the market made it the ideal partner for PACE’s needs. Perfected research techniques combined with our deep knowledge of the pro-democracy space, built by years in the field, provided a unique fit for the project.

" They have a lot of insights not just about the process of data collection, but also what to ask, what would land, what already exists in the field, and where we could be additive. This makes Citizen Data more than a data partner; they are a strategic thought partner.

Amy McIsaac, Managing Director for Learning and Experimentation at PACE

How Citizen Data Responded

Our work proceeded in four key steps:

1. Designing & Fielding a Custom Survey

The task was a unique look at American sentiments towards terms frequently used in “civic engagement and democracy work.” Our survey construction had to ensure there would be actionable insights to glean from the responses while staying nimble to address any changes to the terms PACE desired to examine.

After landing on the correct questions to gather information on 21 frequently-used terms, Citizen tackled the challenge of fielding the survey to a representative sample to ensure accurate insights, all with great speed to meet timelines.

2. Result Analysis and Internal Reporting to PACE

Sifting through the 16,000 pages of data and delivering in-depth insights in a consumable manner for the partner is vital to having genuinely actionable results. Citizen Data’s expert research team immediately cleaned and interpreted responses to construct an initial report for PACE.

Armed with the findings of Americans’ perceptions, we could move forward collaboratively with determining the best way to share the data with the broader civic-minded community.

3. Construct Dashboard for Easy Insight Dissemination

The final determination was that an interactive dashboard to allow exploration of this rich data set would be the ideal distribution method. Citizen quickly constructed a detailed site — featuring two-way and three-way crosstab analysis — allowing users to dive deep into the results.

4. Focus Groups for Deeper Insights

To build on PACE’s quantitative survey, Citizen conducted a series of focus groups to explore disconnects between philanthropists and the public, analyze ideal vs. reality, examine the influence of assumptions and connotations, and delve into the impact of cultural influence.

The findings provided insight into the roots of people’s perceptions, as well as how their individual stories — and those of their families and communities — impact how they define, understand, and experience civic terms.

" Citizen Data worked with speed and quality. They were accommodating when things shifted on our end and mobilized quickly. As we worked on a project with a lot of dynamic variables at play, this was invaluable to our team.

Amy McIsaac, Managing Director for Learning and Experimentation at PACE

The Results

PACE was easily able to understand and act upon our research. Additionally, the product created a tremendous marketing opportunity for their organization.

About 300 people attended the “launch webinar” for the research, and about 500 requested login credentials for the dashboard. Their website traffic rose by more than 100%, newsletter signups surged, and requests for customized presentations came streaming in.

“Through this project, we wanted to create space for learning, experimentation, and collaboration related to civic language. That could not have happened without the Citizen Data’s data that gave us the information we needed, a dashboard that made the data accessible to so many people, and analysis that made sense of what lessons we should take forward.” - Amy McIsaac, Managing Director for Learning and Experimentation at PACE

  • 500
    Login Credentials
  • 300
    Webinar Attendees
  • 100%+
    Increase in Traffic

Is your organization interested in discovering the best term, messages, and more to reach a particular audience? Citizen’s slate of products includes best-in-class guidance to ensure your communications resonate and lead to action. Find the best tool for you by reaching out today.

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