Getting Started With Civic Reflection

This section intended to help you think about how to identify a group for civic reflection, build institutional or community support for discussions and think about the practicalities of running a session.

One discussion participant takes notes as others look on

Identify a Group

While every civic reflection discussion is different, the most important element of any conversation is always the people in the room.

  • Are there any individuals, groups or organizations who you think would benefit from reflective dialogue and would like to engage in civic reflection?

Our Partners: See the partners that we have worked with at the Center for Civic Reflection for ideas for groups of your own.

Make the Case

Because civic reflection is not typically a part of people's daily routines, you will likely have to make the case for why these discussions are beneficial.

  • What will this group gain from taking a step back to think and talk together about their work, communities, or values?
  • What are the existing goals or outcomes important to your institution or community that this activity can support?
  • What questions would this group be able to address in a civic reflection discussion that they may not otherwise have a chance to explore?

Impact: Read case studies of how civic reflection has been used in different contexts and with different groups, and see the measurable outcomes of this work

Resources: Search through a catalogue of sample discussion plans, written with specific groups and themes in mind

Build Support

Getting a civic reflection discussion going may require the support of a number of different people.

  • Who are likely internal advocates in this group or at this organization who would support the practice of civic discussion?
  • Who are key partners you may need to work with? What is the best way to approach them?
  • What information, materials or support do you need from the Center for Civic Reflection to make these discussions happen?

Our Services: See the range of services that the Center for Civic Reflection offers to get these discussion going

Contact Us: For more information, guidance or assistance, please be in touch. We’re always happy to support civic reflection however we can


Practical details are sometimes easy to overlook or leave to the last minute -- but they are crucial to a successful discussion.

  • Where are you going to meet? How will you arrange the space to get the conversation going? Will you have food or drink to make the space hospitable?
  • When are you going to meet? Can these discussions be integrated into people’s current schedules or the organization's meetings or training sessions?
  • Who will lead the discussion? Should it be an external facilitator or someone from within the group?

Trainings: If you or someone in your organization is interested in running these types of discussion, you may want to attend a facilitation training


Even before you have your discussion, you might want to think about how you will follow up.

  • What is your long term goal? What would you like to see happening on a larger scale as a result of these discussions?
  • What evaluation and/or feedback materials will you give to discussion participants to gauge the ways in which reflection and dialogue are worthwhile?
  • If these discussions are useful, how will you make sure they continue over time?