Following the Women's March in DC in February 2017, many had come home with a strong desire to “do something” to make a difference -- beyond a march or protest -- but weren’t sure how. They wanted to connect with their elected officials; to learn how to run for office or support someone who was; and, to connect to groups who were making our community a better place. Organizations and leaders needed a way to reach those very people. Websites were helpful, but the ability to have personal interaction was invaluable.
Engage Norfolk was a civic one-stop-shop that allowed residents to transform their passions into action by connecting with local organizations at the CivicFAIR, meeting elected officials, and learning through Civic 101 Workshops. The event drew more than 1000 attendees and over 100 organizations, with volunteer speakers presenting half a dozen civic workshops on a variety of topics. Elected leaders from local, state and federal offices all came together to meet with their constituents in one place. Engage Norfolk also required minimal monetary investment (less than $1K) thanks to using low-cost online organization tools (Mail Chimp, Sign Up Genius, and Squarespace), and social media for publicity of the event. Due to the event's success and popularity, we will be holding Engage 2.0 in 2018, and we expect even bigger crowds and participation.